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Schwarzenegger, Brown Mark 10th Anniversary Of Climate Change Law

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, shakes hands with Gov. Jerry Brown during a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Schwarzenegger signing California's landmark global warming bill, AB32, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The former California governor famous for saying “I’ll be back” returned to Sacramento Wednesday. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Gov. Jerry Brown and other state leaders to mark the 10th anniversary of the historic climate change law that’s considered a main part of his legacy.

It was one of those self-congratulatory events with a whole lot of mutual back-slapping. But the subject was a big one: the 10th anniversary of AB 32, the bill Schwarzenegger signed that required California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The “governator“ reminded the crowd that even after the bill became law, opponents kept fighting it – like the 2010 ballot measure that would have essentially gutted it.

“Then we all got together, and we said, well, we’re not gonna be like Washington, that they get all scared because of the oil companies!“ Schwarzenegger said, his voice dropping into the mocking tone he once used to call Democratic lawmakers “girlie men.“

“We fought back,“ he added, “we raised $31 million, and we pushed back and pushed back and we terminated them in November!”

Later, Brown took the stage and half-jokingly pointed to several – as he called them – “big ideas” he’s working on to implement what Schwarzenegger started.

“Arnold, thanks for being for climate change, cap and trade, the tunnels project, high-speed rail, and all the other unpopular issues that I’m saddled with!” Brown said, drawing laughs and cheers.

The commemoration of AB 32 came less than a month after Brown signed SB 32, which sets California’s next greenhouse gas reduction goal: 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio