Climate change comments stir up squall in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race

Climate change is becoming an issue in the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey.


Congressman Rush Holt, one of the Democrats seeking the Senate seat, started the controversy with a campaign ad on the Internet.

“On climate change, either we take real action or millions will die,” Holt says in the ad. “The answer is a carbon tax, and I’m going to fight for it.”

Republican candidate Steve Lonegan says Holt’s comment is a silly left-wing view that is simply bizarre.

” ‘Millions will die if we don’t act right now.’ I mean, I don’t know if even the liberal left accepts that premise,” Lonegan said.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, another Democrat in the race, has entered the fray.

Lonegan is denying accepted scientific fact and placing oil profits ahead of middle-class people affected by calamities such as Superstorm Sandy, Oliver said. She added that Lonegan is part of the right wing that denies  climate change.

Holt’s comments are a scare tactic that stand in the way of legitimate discussion on the environment, Lonegan said.

“It takes the whole discussion into silliness instead of being able to talk effectively about our country’s energy policy — how we’re going to continue to be economically prosperous and grow as a country and compete with the world while at the same time being sensible in our environmental policy,” said the former mayor of Bogota in North Jersey.

Holt, who has a doctorate in physics, stands by his claim.  Global warming is “not hysteria,” he said. “It’s documented.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.