Bill Nye has said the challenges of climate change are akin to those faced by people during the Second World War and that sceptics should "cut it out".

The Science Guy made the comments during his commencement address at Rutgers University for students graduating. He called on students to rise to the challenges of climate change – the "most serious environmental crisis" in our history – and to question those who deny it is happening.

"We are now deep in the most serious environmental crisis in human history," he said. "The oncoming trouble is climate change. It is going to affect you all in the same way the Second World War consumed people of my parents' generation. They rose to the challenge and so will you," Nye said.

"They came to be called the greatest generation. I want you all to preserve our world in the face of climate change and carry on as the next great generation."

Nye also directly asked the Class of 2015 to ask climate change sceptics to back up their beliefs, saying it is no different to questioning the link between smoking and cancer.

Bill Nye science guy rutgers
Bill Nye making his commencement speech at Rutgers University Rutgers University

"Our climate is changing. Denying this is in no one's best interest. If you know any climate deniers, just try asking them this question: 'do you believe there is a conspiracy among healthcare professionals that is duping the world into thinking that cigarette smoking causes cancer?'

"The scientific consensus on climate change is at least as strong as the consensus on smoking. Climate change is a real deal. So, hey deniers — cut it out, and let's get to work."

The speech was welcomed by students, with public health graduate Tanweer Ahmed saying: "We all grew up on Bill Nye, so anything he has to say we are going to take into consideration."

Jesse Bagley, a student of science and biomedical engineering, told that climate change was an important topic for Nye to address. Bagley said: "He's right. We all have an opportunity to make a choice as far as that goes, so it was something that we needed to hear."