New Jersey Senate Candidate Dismisses Climate Change Warnings As ‘Silly Hysteria’


Credit: AP/Mike Derer

For New Jersey’s likely Republican nominee for Senate, it’s not enough that 97 percent of relevant scientific studies agree that man-made climate change is occurring. To him, warnings of the impacts of increasing temperatures are just “silly hysteria.”

Tea Party candidate Steve Lonegan, former Mayor of Bogota, N.J., shot back at a video Democratic candidate Rush Holt’s campaign made on climate change, in which Holt calls the consequences of a warming planet “lethal” and comes out in favor of a carbon tax. Lonegan, who is likely to win the Rebublican nomination for Senate but is a long-shot against Democratic favorite Cory Booker, quickly crafted a press release condemning Holt’s remarks:

Congressman Holt is attempting to salvage his long-shot candidacy with this ultra-left-wing idea of cap and trade that, if implemented, would force New Jersey’s working families to pay higher taxes for energy, and drive more American jobs overseas.

I signed the No Climate Tax pledge because I oppose the idea of making consumers pay more to fight the silly hysteria that Congressman Holt puts forward in his web video. Unfortunately, all the candidates on the Democrat side, along with President Obama, support this view.

Though Holt’s video calls for a carbon tax, not a cap and trade system, Lonegan’s remarks are still misleading. Economists have suggested ways to make a carbon tax less costly for the middle and lower class; a well-designed carbon tax can create jobs, rather than driving them overseas; and 56 percent of Americans would prefer using a carbon tax to help reduce the deficit, according to one poll. The No Climate Tax pledge referenced by Lonegan was created by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and has been linked to climate inaction in congress. As former state director of the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity, Lonegan’s opposition of climate change policies — particularly a carbon tax — isn’t surprising.

Scientists, on the other hand, have stood behind Holt’s scientific views. In a letter released on Tuesday, 65 of the U.S.’s leading scientists, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, announced their support for Holt, calling him a “rare and outspoken voice for evidence-based thinking in the U.S. Congress.” Though not as outspoken about it as Holt has been, Booker also lists climate change legislation as something he’d support in congress. New Jersey faces serious risks from climate change, and the state’s failure to adequately prepare for extreme weather in the years before Superstorm Sandy was a costly mistake.

24 Responses to New Jersey Senate Candidate Dismisses Climate Change Warnings As ‘Silly Hysteria’

  1. OK. So what were his fossil fuel campaign contributions up to? And I bet he supports subsidies for them as well…

  2. D. R. Tucker says:

    If you need some mid-summer eco-inspiration you’ll love today’s program as we learn about the multi-state “I Will Act on Climate
    Change” bus tour. Former Virginia congressman, Tom Perriello, shares why he’s involved and what gives him hope on the green front.
    Next, fresh from a protest outside Google headquarters Emily Southard, campaign director of Forecast the Facts, explains why the otherwise green search giant is the target of climate activists. And fresh from the tide-pools along Northern California’s coastline,
    science author and researcher Mary Ellen Hannibal takes us inside her work to raise awareness of the urgent need to protect biodiversity!

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    Ho hum, just another white, overweight, blow dried and rehearsed Koch Brothers puppet.

  4. When the ice cap disappears, and the jet stream spasms between the North Pole and the Tropic of Cancer, and rain falls in deluges where it never has, and falls not at all where it always did, and there are two loaves of bread on the supermarket shelf for every three people who want one, I’ll bet Mr. Lonegan will be leading the hysterics who blame the situation on the government.

  5. Jack Burton says:

    Funny, Siberia is locked in a heat dome and is on fire, a new methane pulse has been detected over the arctic. Open water appears at the north pole, as another tropical like storm tears up the sea ice remaining. A few scientists have now dared to say that Ice Free summer in the arctic could actually happen within a couple years.
    Russia now uses the arctic sea to run ships on a massive short cut to the east, with out ice breakers.
    But the great congress of the USA, the new “Home of Stupid” just keeps the liars and paid off puppets spewing their lies and threats.
    What a joke! The US political system is not only corrupt beyond measure, it is packed with liars and fools, greedy bribe takers and religious nuts.
    If by chance the new Jet Stream pattern added to a coming El Nino set of a year of unheard of extreme weather, the US congress would ignore it all, and still take bribes from big oil. Pathetic people!

  6. David Goldstein says:

    Hey Change: I have read and enjoyed some of the excerpts of your climate novel. I watched World War Z today with Brad Pitt and thought that maybe it is time for Hollywood’s first really big time Climate movie- have you ever thought about a screenplay?

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    2 headlines the same day –
    Global warming is causing lobsters to become cannibals

    Massive east coast starfish die-off reported

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    I ask Joe Romm , once again get a “cracker jack” biologist on your team .
    It’s a giant hole here.

  9. Spike says:

    New research suggests the UK is threatened severely by future floods due to changes in atmospheric rivers as a result of climate change.

    These corporate front men are nothing short of criminally irresponsible.

  10. Spike says:

    Oops sorry wrong link – this is the study, though the previous link was also relevant to rainfall changes.

  11. Jay Dee Are says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I am seeing more media references to laughing off climate change recently.

  12. Mike Roddy says:

    The studios won’t make a climate movie, because they are entwined with the banks and media companies.

    The best we’re likely to get will be Cameron and Schwarzenegger’s Showtime series. It could end up being better than a movie, anyway.

  13. Mike Roddy says:

    I second that suggestion, Bob, and especially would like to see a contributor who understands the forest carbon cycle.

  14. Solar Jim says:

    Or how about a tragic comedy about how “the people” have been twisted into thinking that fossil and uranium substances are “forms of energy,” rather than forms of matter (explosives), which when fired or fissioned create massive lethal toxic contamination (including of the prehistoric carbonic acid gas kind).

    It could be a gas.

  15. Solar Jim says:

    Thanks for the description. I sometimes use “stinking cesspool of graft and corruption” and could add “orchestrated by the status dictates of globalized corporate fascism.”

    USA No. 1 (debtor nation on Earth)

  16. Solar Jim says:

    And then “analyse for discussion” what the prospects are for atmospheric oxygen when the forests and phytoplankton die off (now ongoing).

    Hey, have you heard that besides acidifying the ecosphere, the fossil frackers have improved their extraction methods – by pouring acids down their holes. Coming up: acid earthquakes.

  17. Desertphile says:

    Science, evidence, and reality is “left-wing?” Does he *REALLY* believe that?

  18. M Tucker says:

    Sorry, Lonegan is the ultra-right wing sock puppet.

  19. kermit says:

    Very likely he does. Politically determined right wing anti-science activists can lie and believe their lies at the same time. I do not know how they can do that, but that’s the only description I have for the behavior of these folks. I saw it in the Creationists I grew up among, and I didn’t understand it 50 years ago, and don’t now. But now this kind of reality-free thinking will kill us.

  20. Juan says:

    well said!

  21. It is indeed fortunate that we are at the tipping point called grid parity in many places, when electricity from renewable sources costs less than energy from fossil carbon. Already, it is becoming difficult to get construction funding for coal-fired power stations. Within a few years it will be impossible in most countries of the world, including the US. The cost of wind and solar power has been falling faster than anybody predicted, and they have entered a period of exponential growth.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Try collecting!

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Being on the Right is generally an intellectual and psychological disease inculcated in the family and amongst one’s social peers. I don’t doubt that there is some genetic contribution, having never met a really intelligent Rightist. I suppose they might exist, somewhere, but my definition of informed and flexible intelligence makes it unlikely. Certainly some are cunning, can assimilate and regurgitate information, know how to follow orders etc, and are quite competent at performing repetitive duties. But when it comes to moral insight, systematic thinking, questioning received wisdom, holding opinions tentatively, not being afraid to admit error or relative ignorance and adjust one’s views and perceiving reality holistically-well, that won’t get you far in the corporate hierarchy, now will it?

  24. J4Zonian says:

    It’s called dissociation, a simultaneous process of cognition, emotion, muscles and glands, at least.

    Derrick Jensen talks about a study in which people offended by nudity looked at a picture with some nudity in one part. Their eyes were tracked and after, they were asked about it. They studiously avoided looking at the nude part even once, and after, claimed not to know there was nudity in the picture.

    The thing is, to so effectively avoid looking at the nude part they had to know it was there. They simultaneously know and don’t know, just like climate- and evolution- and all other manner of denialists. Of course there are all different degrees and types of denial and denialism, ranging from outright conscious liars to completely deluded people without the intelligence to know much at all. And there are also other factors–fear and hatred of sexuality, feelings of “aloneness” that are a hallmark of conservatism, for example.

    Whatever else we try and do, it seems unlikely to me we can survive this crisis without at least making substantial progress on treating this disorder.