September 24, 2009 / 9:29 PM / 10 years ago

Schwarzenegger: ready to work for Obama, go green

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to put his star power to work for President Barack Obama on the environment when his own term ends next year, the former movie actor said on Thursday.

Republican Schwarzenegger is arguably the biggest environmentalist in his party and razzed Washington, which is struggling to pass climate change legislation and prepare for international talks, for wrangling with other countries over global warming goals rather than setting an example.

“Did we say China, you go first with human rights, and we will follow you? No. We led,” he said in an address at the Commonwealth Club lauding his state’s climate change plan, which is the most aggressive in the nation.

Term limits will force Schwarzenegger out of office in late 2010, and his main accomplishment may be his environmental record — sweeping efforts to change the state’s system of government and to permanently balance the budget have largely failed.

Asked if he would be willing to serve in the Obama administration, be a global ‘green’ ambassador, or even star in a TV series as governor of California after he steps down, Schwarzenegger said, “Yes to all those things.”

“I’ve made very clear that any way I can help the Obama administration to be successful, I will do so. I don’t need to get paid for it, I don’t even need to have an official position,” he said.

The governor is still fighting to convince all Californians the state should go full steam ahead with its climate change plans, but he said he would not back down.

He argued that California’s economy would boom thanks to the push to cleaner technology, including a requirement he signed last week that 33 percent of state electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 and the most aggressive energy efficiency plan by a U.S. state, announced by regulators on Thursday.

Reporting by Peter Henderson, editing by Jackie Frank

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