SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS/AP) — Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a rare political appearance on Monday in Sacramento to promote California’s fight against climate change and to attend a ceremony to unveil his official portrait as governor.

Schwarzenegger lifted the curtain on his official state portrait, revealing a photograph-like giant image of the onetime bodybuilder in front of the official California seal.

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He revealed the portrait at a ceremony in the rotunda of the state Capitol on Monday, nearly four years after he left office. Among the political notables at the event were several former state Assembly speakers.

The portrait was done by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein, a realist who previously illustrated Andy Warhol and John F. Kennedy.

Credit: Brei Thompson/CBS13

Credit: Brei Thompson/CBS13

The seminar, titled “Lessons from California,” was hosted by his USC Schwarzenegger Institute and highlighted the state’s aggressive efforts to tackle issues such as reducing carbon emissions. It was also attended by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“While the politicians in Washington can’t get anything done because of being stuck in these ideological foxholes, we here in California have two governors from two different parties, together in the same room fighting for the same green energy future,” Schwarzenegger said at the summit.

Organizers are using the state’s policies to prompt further action ahead of United Nations climate-change conferences in Peru and Paris.

“Countries and regions need to learn from the many successful initiatives pioneered in California and elsewhere,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in a welcome message to those meeting in Sacramento.

During his tenure, Schwarzenegger signed California’s landmark 2006 global-warming law, called AB32, which paved the way for the state’s cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse-gas emissions by the worst polluters.

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Monday’s gathering, at a 250-seat auditorium at the headquarters of the California Environmental Protection Agency, featured research experts, businesses executives from Apple Inc. and UPS Inc., as well as actor-activist Ed Begley Jr.

“In California we don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment,” Schwarzenegger said. “We know the opposite is true. Protecting the environment builds a strong, sustainable economy for the future. We also know that doing nothing will cost us a fortune down the line.”

He cited costs that included state infrastructure that could allow flooding because of higher temperatures, increased heat- and pollution-related deaths, and a never-ending wildfire season that stretches state budgets.

Later in the day, Schwarzenegger will head to the Capitol rotunda to unveil his portrait by an artist who has yet to be named. It will eventually hang on the third floor of the building next to the portrait of his recalled predecessor, Gray Davis.

As governor, Schwarzenegger had promised to bring fiscal accountability, but the state faced a huge budget deficit when he left office. Brown has been credited with passing a tax increase, cutting services and bringing the budget back in balance.

In one of his final acts in office, Schwarzenegger commuted the involuntary-manslaughter sentence of the son of a former political ally, former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Democrat who was also scheduled to attend the climate conference.

Months after Schwarzenegger left office, embarrassing revelations emerged about an affair he had with his maid that resulted in a son born out of wedlock. The disclosure devastated his marriage to Maria Shriver.

Since then, Schwarzenegger has largely committed to a Hollywood comeback. He appeared in this summer’s “The Expendables 3,” and returns to his cyborg assassin character in a new “Terminator” film due out next year.

Schwarzenegger previously told The Associated Press that he has no plans to run for elected office again.

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“I never wanted to be a career politician,” he said.