Schwarzengger said "we've proved that over and over again in California."
Interviewed by ABC television from the Copenhagen conference, the Austrian-born former film star said he thinks world leaders may be risking setbacks by pushing so aggressively for an accommodation on curbs to heat-trapping emissions.
Schwarzenegger said that people worried about climate change should pay more attention to companies, universities and "ordinary folks" and not put so much emphasis on a multinational consensus.
Speaking at the conference later, Schwarzenegger offered up his own state as a model for investment in green technologies and suggested holding another U.N. summit geared toward states, provinces and regions instead of nations. Schwarzenegger offered to host such a summit.
He also said during the television interview that poor nations have a right to demand that the richer countries help them to meet tougher pollution standards.
Negotiations on a global climate deal at the U.N. summit in Copenhagen hit a snag Monday when developing countries suspended talks amid deep distrust of the promises by industrial countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The but deep divisions remain between rich and poor countries over emission targets and financing for developing countries to deal with global warming.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged rich and poor countries to and raise their climate targets to salvage the faltering talks before world leaders arrive later this week.