THE BLOG
09/21/2010 12:08 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Green Legacy Facing Terminator

As California's governor, Arnie's days are numbered. What kind of legacy will he leave? Seven years after he took office, California's financial problems are worse than ever, so no gold stars for financial or political reform, but perhaps Arnie can cling to his green legacy?

Today the landmark climate legislation he signed into law -- AB 32 -- is under threat by Proposition 23. As the November election approaches, look out for Arnie defending AB 32 tooth and nail -- it's not just about the law, his core green legacy is at stake. Maybe that's all he's got.

Although Schwarzenegger has made some stunning green gaffes and zigzags; he's proud of his achievements in the green economy and was widely praised for passing AB 32 in 2006. Since then, almost every event trumpeting the creation of green jobs in California featured the grinning green guv'na. Yet, the actual number of jobs created by these expanding green companies is often underwhelming and certainly doesn't match the hype of many events.

What do people think of his green legacy in California? Is it solid emerald, or more of a soft sage? Could he have done more to jumpstart the green economy?

Watch the Fresh Dialogues interview here:

In a recent Fresh Dialogues interview, Martin Giles, US Technology correspondent with The Economist said, "It's mixed in terms of job creation. Have some green jobs been created as a result of state government initiatives? Yes. Absolutely. No question about it."

"Has the state taken the lead in certain areas like smart grid? Absolutely...But on occasion, there's a lot of political bluster...there's definite impact but it's maybe not quite as big as Schwarzenegger would have us believe," adds Giles.

Carl Guardino
, CEO of the Silicon Valley leadership group said in an April interview, "he's proved to us his commitment to both the economy and the environment."

But Richard Lowenthal, CEO of the Coulomb Technologies, a maker of charging stations for electric cars points out that Arnie didn't always place the right bets. The governor was an early backer of the California Hydrogen Highway for example. It's now aptly described as a road to nowhere. "But there's no denying that our business has been helped by climate legislation (as has Akeena Solar's, Tesla's, etc.) It was about what's good for California," adds Lowenthal. "He's been true to his agenda of being a green governor...it's not always been easy, he's got to juggle his bases, but I think his record is good."

Fresh from his China mission, Schwarzenegger will be rallying the pro-AB 32 crowd and defending his green legacy at a Commonwealth Club event on September 27th in Silicon Valley.

Proposition 23 - sponsored in large part by Texan oil companies - seeks to suspend (and effectively repeal) AB 32.

For more interviews and commentary re AB 32 and green innovation go to Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel.