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How extreme weather is costing US consumers millions

Posted at 5:18 PM, May 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-20 17:18:15-04

The environmental damage caused by climate change isn't always immediate, but scientists say it's costing the U.S. a lot of money and problems right now.

New research reveals a sharp increase in global carbon-dioxide levels, passing 400 parts per million.

Dr. Pieter Tans is the lead scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He says greenhouse gas emissions reached a new benchmark.

"CO2 hasn't been this high in 800,000 years. This is very well known. And very likely, it has not been this high for 3 to 4 million years," said Tans.

Texas A&M climatologist Andrew Dessler says these extreme-weather events already cost U.S. consumers millions.

"There are cities that are beginning to run out of water. So, what do you do? Build pipelines, truck in water, and that costs money," said Dessler.

Dessler says it's money that could be invested in other places. Over time, this added expense reduces the standard of living, unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

"It's a task so big, so daunting, most people don't even want to think about it," said Dr. Pieter Tans.

Skeptics, including lawmakers, insist climate change isn't real.

President Obama told cadets at the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, that not only is climate change bad for the economy, it's also a threat to national security. The effects of extreme weather puts stress on the military, and its ability to respond to natural disasters.