Schwarzenegger's Green Challenge

California Governor Says He'll Stick To Environmental Plans, Despite Economic Crisis

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He owned the room, but in a sense he was behind enemy lines. The big three automakers had sued Schwarzenegger to stop cuts in tailpipe emissions. They lost. And he was here to grill them about their alternative fuel cars.

"I have been in Detroit in 2000 and have talked to the car manufacturers then to put hydrogen engines in the cars and start experimenting. And they said to me then, 'Well, this would take five to ten years to do something like that.' Well, that time has come now. Where are the cars?" Schwarzenegger questioned.

"When you came out in California with your stricter emissions standards, you know there were billboards all over Michigan which said, 'Arnold to Detroit: drop dead,'" Pelley remarked.

"Right, that's true. That was the best free publicity I could get. But actually I was not saying, 'Arnold to Detroit: drop dead,' I was just saying, 'Get off your butt,'" Schwarzenegger said.

Not many people know that Schwarzenegger personally invented the civilian Hummer. The maker of the military version told him that it could never be made street legal, so Schwarzenegger bought one and spent $100,000 of his money to show that it could be done.

Schwarzenegger's action helped launch the brand that is the very symbol of greenhouse gas gluttony.

That original Humvee, which Schwarzenegger still occasionally uses to ride around Los Angeles, has now been modified to run on cooking oil. "You can literally go up to a restaurant and get cooking oil," he told Pelley.

Now he has re-invented the vehicle with green that's more than skin-deep. He has one variation that runs partly on hydrogen, and this one has an engine modified to run on bio fuel. "I mean, it runs, basically, on anything. Anything natural," he said, as he took Pelley for a ride in it.

His point is that trying to chase Americans out of their big cars, what he calls "guilt-trip environmentalism," has failed. "And my point was is keep all of the stuff that you like. But change the technology," Schwarzenegger explained. "So I started really pushing that agenda in a positive way. Look at the great things that we can do. We can turn this whole thing around. The damage that we have created over the last 100 years, we can undo that."

This "have it all" philosophy leads some critics to say the governor sees green through rose-colored glasses, that he tends to underplay challenges involving cost and technology.