Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson believes the future of the human race lies in other planets and not on Earth. The former governor of New Mexico also vowed to remain in the presidential race, despite not reaching the support threshold needed to appear in the debates.

"We do have to inhabit other planets," Johnson said on ABC News' This Week programme when asked how to address the challenges posed by climate change. "The future of the human race is space exploration," he stated.

Johnson was also asked about comments he made at the National Press Club in 2011 when he said people should think long term when it comes to global warming because one day "the sun will engulf the Earth". The third-party candidate said his past comments were merely a joke.

"Can't we have a little humour once in a while," Johnson remarked. "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."

In a move contrary to many in the Libertarian Party, Johnson also defended the Environmental Protection Agency. "I think the EPA exists to protect us against individuals, groups, corporations that would do us harm. Pollution is harm," Johnson said.

According to CNN, Johnson stance on climate change accepts the science but opposes the idea that government or international treaties can solve the issue.

The Libertarian nominee maintained he would remain in the race despite not being able to debate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday (26 September). Johnson criticised the Commission on Presidential Debates over the formula that determines who can participate in the debates.

Candidates are required to hold 15% support in polls, but Johnson only has around 8%, according to RealClearPolitics' calculations. Johnson said the Commission on Presidential Debates is "made up of Republicans and Democrats that just have no intention whatsoever in seeing anyone other than a Republican or Democrat on the debate stage."

ABC News reported that Johnson said his campaign is "an ongoing process" to reach the 15% threshold to qualify for the two debates in October. In an earlier interview with ABC News, Johnson said he could keep his mouth closed the entirety of the debate and his poll numbers would rise. A recent poll revealed that Johnson does have a large following among US military members.

Clinton and Trump debate for the first time together on Monday (26 September) at 9pm EST/2am BST from Hempstead, New York.