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.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

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.”

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

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

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal