Bill Nye "The Science Guy" has criticized Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn for disputing the reality of climate change, insisting that the scientific community accepts it as fact. He also called for legislation to tackle climate change.
"There is no debate in the scientific community. And I encourage the congresswoman to look at the facts," Nye said in a debate on "Meet the Press" Sunday, NBC News reported. "We need you to change things, not to deny what's happening."
Blackburn, who is the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, argued that there is no consensus on the subject.
"Neither he nor I are climate scientists. He's an engineer and actor; I'm a member of Congress," Blackburn said, and noted that regardless of the validity of climate change, lawmakers would still need to consider cost-benefiting solutions before imposing them.
Nye, who earlier this month debated Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham on creationism and evolution, warning that the U.S. is in trouble if it teaches creationism to children as science, argued that climate change needs to be tackled immediately.
"It would be everybody's interests to just get going," he said. "The more we mess around with this denial, the less we're going to get done."
The question of climate change remains a controversial topic in American politics.
The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to create rules that would place limits on carbon pollution. Climate change legislation passed by House Democrats in 2009 was stalled since Republicans won control of the house in 2010.
Republicans in Congress are, meanwhile, urging Obama to move forward with the Keystone XL oil pipeline project, though the Obama administration remains concerned over the environmental impact construction will have.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called climate change one of the world's most serious problems, alongside disease outbreaks, poverty, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
"We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact," Kerry said at a speech at the U.S. Embassy's function in Jakarta, Indonesia, CNN reported.
His comments reflect warnings President Obama delivered at his State of the Union address, when he called climate change an undeniable fact.
According to a February 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Americans said climate change was a major threat, and only 34 percent of the public viewed new climate change policies as something that was essential for the White House and Congress to tackle.