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'Schwarzie' to pump green mission in Geneva

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'Schwarzie' to pump green mission in Geneva
Eirik Helland Urke
13:55 CET+01:00

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former body builder, actor and ex-governor of California, is visiting Geneva next week in his latest incarnation as environmentalist.

Schwarzenegger was instrumental with other global leaders last year in establishing R20, a non-profit environmental group, based in the Swiss canton.

He is slated to speak at a climate and economics conference next Wednesday at the University of Geneva.

“Schwarzie,” as he is known in the local francophone press, is to be joined by Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, to talk about climate change challenges.

Schwarzenegger will outline the progress made by his group, which operates out of a mansion in the Geneva community of Versoix.

The R20 is a coalition of partners led by regional governments that work to promote and implement environmental projects.

They aim to produce local economic and environmental benefits in the form of reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, strong local economies, improved public health, and new green jobs.

Schwarzenegger has stated that these local actions can help the world achieve shared global environmental and economic goals.

"R20 is not just another NGO or network of regions, it is much more than that,” he told The Global Journal, a Geneva-based publication, last year.

“It is a real coalition of forces which believe that climate change and green economic development can be tackled at the subnational level."

Schwarzenegger, famous for playing action heroes in movies, also developed a reputation for driving petrol-guzzling Hummers – at one time he owned three of the giant SUVs.

During his time in office, however, Schwarzenegger became increasingly committed to green policies. In 2006, California became the first US state to place a cap on greenhouse gases, while his cars were adapted to make them more environmentally friendly. 

He remained Governor of California until January 2011. Later last year, he contended with scandal over the breakup with his former wife Maria Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family.

The split came after Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child with the family’s housekeeper.

His visit coincides with the 82nd annual Geneva Motor Show, which runs from March 8th to 18th.

As in past years, he is expected to drop in on the expo, where increasing attention has been focused on low-emission vehicles.

The climate and economics conference is set to start at 6.30pm on March 7th at the Uni Dufour building, 24, rue du Général-Dufour.

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