Arnold Schwarzenegger urges candidates to champion green energy

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tours a solar energy company in Los Angeles in September.
(Maury Phillips / Getty Images)

Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday urged Republicans running for president to do more to encourage investment in renewable energy, and pledged to be a “cheerleader” for the issue.

The former California governor was honored in Washington on Monday night as the “renewable energy leader of the decade” by the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Speaking at the group’s 10th anniversary dinner, he said the United States had lost its way when it came to investing in developing new sources of energy.

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Support for green energy today is far below the level of support for other fuel sources at the beginning of the last century, he said. Even today, he said, subsidies for fossil fuels are five times greater than those for renewable energy.

“I don’t want to demonize fossil fuels,” Schwarzenegger said. “All I propose, and I’m speaking now to Congress and I’m speaking now to all the candidates running for president, is that all of our energy sources play by the same rules.”

Government, he argued, “should never pick winners,” a twist on the argument Republicans have made in response to loan guarantees the Obama administration has awarded, including to the now defunct solar giant Solyndra.

Schwarzenegger made the same case in a Washington Post op-ed piece over the weekend.

“Instead of a simplistic and misleading one-word argument against green energy — Solyndra! — I’d like to hear from the candidates that government shouldn’t pick winners, as it clearly has with our lopsided subsidies,” he wrote.

Schwarzenegger has been largely silent on the Republican race for president, but said he would continue to advocate on green issues.

“I feel as passionate about this as I did about bodybuilding,” he said. “This is my crusade.”