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Dr. Jay Gulledge on what rising seas mean for the U.S.

There’s a pressing issue for the US economy that barely gets a mention: the soaring costs America might face in generations to come from climate change.  More specifically, the very damaging and very costly effects of sea level rise.

According to recent research put out by Climate Central, close to four million Americans now live in coastal communities that could see increased flooding caused by sea-level rise.  The kind of flooding that was once considered extremely rare could happen more and more often, with devastating economic consequences.

This week, Need to Know traveled to Norfolk, Va. to report how that city is already dealing with the effects of sea-level rise.  The mayor of Norfolk, Paul Fraim, told us that even if the city is able to build large fortifications against the sea, some areas of the city might have to be abandoned in the face of ever rising tides.

Later in that report, we examined how a growing consensus is emerging that some governmental policies – like subsidized Federal flood insurance, and the repeated reconstruction of flood prone infrastructure – may in fact be encouraging people to build in risky places, and that those policies need to be rethought.

Need to Know anchor Scott Simon talks with Dr. Jay Gulledge, senior scientist and director of The Science and Impacts Program at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change) about what sea-level rise might mean for the nation, and what we can do today to prepare.

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