Ted Thomas, a former Republican legislator and the current chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, which regulates the electric utilities in the state, considers himself to be in a “unique” position on climate change.
In an interview, Thomas explained his positioning like this: “A, I offered a declaration in support of the litigation against the Clean Power Plan; B, I publicly criticized Senator McConnell’s ‘just say no’ strategy; C, I think that carbon emissions are correlated with global temperature increase, and humans are causing enough of it that it’s a public policy problem; but D, I also think that identifying a problem isn’t enough. You have to identify a solution and have a straightforward problem about what it costs.”
The one-time budget director under Gov. Mike Huckabee says carbon poses a risk, regardless of what happens in the wake of the Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump. “I like low costs, I want to keep low costs, so I have two big risks. One of them is [natural] gas prices going up, and the other one is federal carbon policy. With an administration that at the moment really doesn’t appear to have its act together, that increases carbon risk, because if there’s a backlash in four years, we’re going to have carbon policy. And it will probably be a lot more stringent than the Clean Power Plan,” he said. He pointed to fuel diversity as a way to minimize risk and thinks technological advancements are the path forward.
“We need technologywhich thrives in market capitalism, so we need thatbut we need the right policies that accommodate whatever emerges as the price winner,” he said.