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Palin, Schwarzenegger Climate Dispute Heats Up

Schwarzenegger, Palin split

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen at the U.N. Climate Summit in Copenhagen, while former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is seen at a book signing in Fairfax, Virginia. (Reuters photos)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is fighting back after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took a shot her for questioning whether human activity contributes to climate change.

Schwarzenegger, in Copenhagen for the U.N. climate change summit, questioned the motivation behind Palin's recent op-eds blasting the Obama administration's cap and trade policy, equating her position to a publicity stunt.

"You have to ask: what was she trying to accomplish?" Schwarzenegger told the Financial Times in an interview. "Is she really interested in this subject or is she interested in her career and in winning the (Republican presidential) nomination? You have to take all these things with a grain of salt."

In a post on her Facebook page Tuesday night, Palin responded to Schwarzenegger's remarks by criticizing the California governor's environmental policies as cause for the state's economic problems.

"Why is Governor Schwarzenegger pushing for the same sorts of policies in Copenhagen that have helped drive his state into record deficits and unemployment?" she wrote. "I was among the first governors to create a sub-cabinet to deal specifically with climate change. While I and all Alaskans witness the impacts of changes in weather patterns firsthand, I have repeatedly said that we can't primarily blame man's activities for those changes. And while I did look for practical responses to those changes, what I didn't do was hamstring Alaska's job creators with burdensome regulations so that I could act 'greener than thou' when talking to reporters."

Schwarzenegger also took what appeared to be a veiled shot at Palin on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday, dismissing her calls for Obama to boycott the talks in Copenhagen.

"I think there are people that just don't believe in fixing and working on the environment," he said. "They don't believe there is such a thing as global warming, they're still living in the Stone Age, which is OK, we need people like that, too," he said.

Schwarzenegger told ABC that world policymakers do not have to choose between a clean environment and economic growth.

"We've proved that over and over again in California," he said.

Schwarzenegger said that people worried about climate change should pay more attention to companies, universities and "ordinary folks" and not put so much emphasis on a multinational consensus. He said that type of thinking is "setting yourself up for failure." He also said poor nations have a right to demand that the richer countries help them to meet tougher pollution standards.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.