U.K. Report Warns of Rising Flood Dangers and Costs

The U.K. government marked Earth Day with characteristic British cheer, releasing a report warning that much of the country is going to experience flooding in coming decades. According to an expert government panel, the cost of physical and psychological damage from floods in the U.K. is likely to rise from $1.8 billion a year now to some $35.5 billion a year over the next century, thanks to climate change. Lest optimistic enviros be allowed some hope, the report points out that even if substantial international efforts are made to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions, the costs will still double. The report recommends a range of immediate bad-TV-movie-sounding precautions, from relocating oil refineries inland to abandoning parts of some urban areas to create flood channels. Potential flood-related problems include waterborne pollution, destroyed sewer mains, psychological stress, and, uh, lots of things that used to be above water being under water.