Former Bush Official Calls Climate Change A 'Real Serious Problem'

05/21/2014 01:25 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2014

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge again discussed the issue of climate change, calling it a "real serious problem" that could be a potential "security challenge."

Ridge had previously called climate change "a national security threat" in February 2013. His latest comments come after prominent Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) have downplayed and even doubted the severity of climate change.

“At the end of the day, is it a potential challenge for us? Yes," Ridge said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday. "Is it a security challenge that would bring destruction and economic damage if we don’t appreciate the fact that it’s happening and try to do something in anticipation of it occurring? It’s a real serious problem."

At an event in April, Paul argued scientific debate over global warming should not be "dumbed down" by politics, before noting that he believed conclusions made from scientific studies of climate change are "not conclusive." Ridge admitted he's no scientist, but argued the facts are damning.

“I’m not a scientist,” Ridge said. “It’s pretty difficult to believe that [releasing] millions of tons of SOx, NOx and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a good thing. And regardless of whether or not that causation is strictly man-made -- and there certainly is a component of that -- the fact of the matter is global climate change is affecting sea levels, water levels."

Earlier this month, Rubio said he does "not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it." He later attempted to link climate change to abortion.

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