Schwarzenegger to Detroit: Get Off Your Butt!

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — one of the first civilians to own a Hummer — told car manufacturers in Detroit to “get off your butt” and stop living in the past of huge SUVs and cheap oil prices, at the Common Wealth Club on Friday. He made the remarks in a Q&A session that followed a speech to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the state’s climate change bill, AB 32.

Detroit must do a better job at developing these alternative fuel vehicles, he said, and pointed out that Tesla has been able to produce a successful electric car far before Detroit has. (Schwarzenegger is a Tesla customer). Of course he noted that California has managed to lure Tesla back to the state with an incentive package and that the startup has decided to build a $250 million plant in San Jose, Calif.

Schwarzenegger also said that he wasn’t pleased with the federal government for protecting the auto industry, saying he will fight the feds in court until they stop. He wasn’t supportive of Washington’s general progress on fighting climate change either. “Washington is asleep at the wheel. We can not look for leadership there,” he said. And when it comes to the next president he said, whoever gets the position “will be better than this administration when it comes to the environment.”

On that front he says he plans to host a governor’s global climate summit in California in November. He says he’ll invite government officials from around the world, and every Governor in the U.S. will be invited. The goal is to form an international alliance for the Kyoto negotiators to use as a framework for their future discussions, he said.