John Kerry: We are way behind on climate change

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a member of the coalition, added that combating climate change is not antithetical to economic health. He touted the state’s 3.2 percent economic growth in the face of some of the strictest environmental laws in the county.

“You can see that we [California] can be both the fifth largest economy in the world right behind China, Germany and Japan and the United States. So it just shows to you the power that we have by going green and the kind of jobs we created,” Schwarzenegger said. “And I think that’s what we want to do: We want the whole United States to go in that direction, the whole world to go in that direction.”

Schwarzenegger added that the way climate change is presented is also important in communicating its gravity to the public and to lawmakers. The former Republican governor noted that people were far more receptive to acting on “pollution” than “climate change,” and he said most people are more concerned about immediate consequences than long-term impacts.

“Pollution is a threat right now. And when you introduced this piece, you talked about in 2050. People can’t think about 2050. They think about now. How can I survive? How can I provide jobs? How can I go and feed my family? Those are the kind of issues and that’s why it’s important that we talk about the health issue,” Schwarzenegger said.

President Donald Trump has dismissed the established science on climate change, touting environmental policy antithetical to the recommendations of climate scientists. When asked whether they should try to persuade Trump to change his mind or whether he is a lost cause, both Kerry and Schwarzenegger said the issue is much larger than any one person.

“We have to convince the whole world,” Schwarzenegger said.

An international climate summit gets under way Monday in Madrid.