During a week when Charlie Sheen has overshadowed stories about an uprising in Libya, radioactivity in our water, and a possible federal government shutdown, it’s surprising to see a Hollywood star-turned-politician reignite another important issue. The topic is climate change, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is the politician who is getting headlines for understanding what's at stake.

The former governor of California — also known for his roles as "The Terminator" and "Kindergarten Cop" — took to the podium at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in California, demanding that leaders end the “false debate of climate, to stop assuming China will provide new green tech cheaper and faster than the United States and to stop pretending that global warming won't affect people for decades,” according to a TechNews Daily report.

Schwarzenegger, who during his time as governor fought to preserve existing environmental regulations and add others, is a rare breed in the modern GOP, yet his rhetoric still resonates with hawkish and fiscal folks. He posed a question at the conference about why a country like Libya should have any say on U.S. energy prices. Where he has lost the support of his party — for reasons that probably have to do with the fossil fuel industry’s influence over elections — is the pesky issue of climate science.

Many in Schwarzenegger’s party deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that man-made activities are causing changes in the Earth’s weather patterns. Perhaps Schwarzenegger still can win over some on the right, namely the action-hero wing of Republicans. No, he didn’t say it’s time to terminate carbon emissions (though he probably has at some point); instead he quoted one of his wisest characters, Conan the Barbarian.  

“Conan was asked, 'What is best in life?' He answered, 'To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentations of the women.' Now, my views have evolved since. But my point is that Conan was not big on philosophy or navel-gazing. He was big on action, just like you.”

There you have it, folks: the argument that could spark a clean energy revolution.

Schwarzenegger hammers home climate change message
Former California governor uses one of his most famous movie roles to outline why action is needed.