- Gary Johnson was asked about his past comments on climate change.
- He called them a joke, but said humanity needs to leave the Earth.
"We do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is space exploration," Johnson said on ABC's "This Week."
Johnson was responding to a question about comments he made in 2011 at the National Press Club when he said people should think about global warming in the long term, because one day in the distant future, "the sun will engulf the Earth."
The third-party candidate waved off his past remarks, calling them a joke.
"Can't we have a little humor once in a while," Johnson asked before elaborating on the same line of thought. "That is long term. I mean, plate tectonics, at one point Africa and South America separated. And I am talking now about the Earth and the fact that we have existed for billions of years."
He also defended the Environmental Protection Agency -- a position at odds with the strain of free market absolutism prominent in Libertarian circles.
"I think the EPA exists to protect us against individuals, groups, corporations that would do us harm. Pollution is harm," Johnson said.
Johnson's stated position
on climate change has been an acceptance of science, but a rejection of the notion that government or international treaties can solve the problem.