Kerry: Climate change as urgent as ISIS, Ebola

Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryThe Atlantic Council's questionable relationship with Gabon’s leader State Dept. months late on explaining Clinton aide's missing emails The evidence backs Trump: We have a duty to doubt election results MORE said the threats posed by climate change should be addressed with as much "immediacy" as confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Ebola outbreak. 

During a meeting with foreign ministers on Sunday, Kerry said global warming is creating "climate refugees."

"We see people fighting over water in some places. There are huge challenges to food security and challenges to the ecosystem, our fisheries and ... the acidification of the ocean is a challenge for all of us," Kerry said. 

"And when you accrue all of this, while we are confronting ISIL and we are confronting terrorism and we are confronting Ebola and other things, those are immediate," he added, using an alternate acronym for the terrorist group. 

"This also has an immediacy that people need to come to understand, but it has even greater longer-term consequences that can cost hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars, lives, and the security of the world," Kerry continued.

Kerry has drawn the ire of lawmakers in the past for comparing the threats of climate change to terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.

Still, Kerry hasn't backed down, and is a key player in President Obama's diplomatic efforts on climate change.

Kerry made the comments ahead of a United Nations climate summit in New York where the president on Tuesday will urge 125 heads of state to take "ambitious" action in the fight against global warming.