Schwarzenegger said taking relatively small steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions – such as cutting meat and dairy consumption – were likely to be more successful than asking people to make big lifestyle changes.
“We can’t keep talking to people about don’t drive this big car and don’t fly on the airplane because it’s not going to happen,” the star told BBC News during his visit to the UN Climate Change conference in Paris to lobby politicians. “You don’t want to take people’s joy away.”
‘Take people’s joy away’
But reducing meat and dairy consumption could bring about big change. “It’s an important issue – 28% of greenhouse gases come from eating meat and raising cattle and all those things,” he said, citing his friend, film director James Cameron’s advice to stop eating meat.
“It’s a good idea [to stop eating meat] but I don’t think people will buy it. People will buy into stopping [eating meat] maybe a day a week or two days a week – or something like that.”
Such a modest start was more likely to be successful than big lifestyle changes. “You have to start slowly. You can’t just convince people to stop eating meat altogether. It’s a very big challenge.”
Politicians have a responsibility to show leadership on climate change in order to reduce the mounting deaths arising from rising global temperatures.
“It’s a good idea [to stop eating meat] but I don’t think people will buy it. People will buy into stopping maybe a day a week or two days a week ...”
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
Dying from climate change
Schwarzenegger claimed 7M people a year – or 19,000 a day – were dying from the effects of climate change.
“This is a matter of leadership,” he said. “Because the longer you talk what’s going to happen in 20 years from now, 50 years from now, you will always have someone say, I’m going to concentrate on what’s important right now.”
Everyone in government had a responsibility to protect people and “let them have a safe life”. That meant taking urgent action on climate change now, said the former governor of California.
Ministers from nations worldwide gathered in Paris on Monday (Decenber 7) to start a round of talks aimed at forging a new global agreement on combating climate change. The aim is to agree a binding deal by Saturday (December 12)
The politicians will attempt to craft a deal from a draft negotiating text signed off by delegates here on Saturday.
Read why the National Farmers Union warned recently climate change was already cutting UK food production.
Meanwhile, was The Terminator right? Should we cut our consumption of meat and dairy products or perhaps drop meat altogether? Test your views against those of FoodManufacture.co.uk’s independently-audited circulation of 105,000 unique monthly visitors by taking part in our quiz.
Do you agree with The Terminator? Should we cut consumption of meat and dairy products?
Yes: One or two meat free days a week and fewer dairy products would help to tackle climate change59%
Yes: But he did not go far enough. His buddy James Cameron was right, we should stop eating meat21%
No: Consumers are perfectly entitled to eat meat and dairy products, whenever they feel like it without being made to feel guilty9%
No: Schwarzenegger should stick to acting and US politics and leave tackling climate change to global leaders3%
Make mine a T-bone with, in the interests of a balanced diet, extra onion rings8%