By Laura Barron-Lopez - 04/23/14 06:14 PM EDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said in a recent interview that the science behind climate change is "not conclusive," calling people who tie extreme weather to a changing climate ignorant.
During an interview with former senior adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod, at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics on Tuesday, Paul wouldn't be pinned down as a skeptic, but said the "scientific debate should not be dumbed down to politics."
And "the conclusions you make from that are not conclusive," Paul, a possible 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, said.
Paul made clear that he is against pollution and thinks the country should take measures to cut back, but he doesn't back "alarmist" claims that the earth is headed toward a downward spiral due to increasing temperatures.
"That alarmist stuff really detracts from the case that we shouldn't pollute," Paul said.
When asked if he could be put down as a skeptic, Paul took another route.
"What I would say is someone is an ignoramus who would say, 'Oh yeah, three hurricanes this year, this proves that somehow the climate is warming,' Paul said. "The earth is 4.5 billion years old, and so, you are going to say we had four hurricanes and so that proves a theory? No."
"I'm not saying that theory is right or wrong. What I would say is there is something that all of us should be in favor of and that is we should minimize pollution."
Still, Paul went on to blast the growing amount of "onerous regulations" on emissions.