During a speech Monday in Jakarta, Kerry said climate change is "the greatest challenge of our generation" and accused "a few loud interest groups" of obstructing progress on the issue.
"We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact," he said.
McCain, during an appearance Tuesday on KFYI, Phoenix, asked "on what planet" does Kerry reside?
"Why should he talk about climate change when we've got 130,000 people in Syria killed and ... when the Iran-U.S. talks are obviously a joke and the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations haven't even begun?" McCain said.
He accused Kerry and President Barack Obama of "gross failure in all three."
"So [Kerry] has to go over to Asia and talk about climate change? And saying it's the most important issue? Hello? On what planet does he reside?"
In his speech Monday, Kerry said ecosystems such as that of Indonesia are at risk because of climate change and "it's time for the world to approach this problem with the cooperation, the urgency, and the commitment that a challenge of this scale warrants."
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said Tuesday Kerry should resign.
"I think it's very troubling that our secretary of state ... believes that climate change is a greater danger than a nuclear war," Gingrich said Tuesday on CNN, where he currently works as a commentator.