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Britain ranks top risks posed by climate change

LONDON (AP) -- Coastlines, working patterns, and even the country's most famous meal are under threat from climate change, Britain said Thursday in its first-ever national assessment of the likely risks.The 2.8 million pound ($4.4 million) study sets out the most pressing problems expected to affect the United Kingdom as a result of climate change, from rising sea levels to more frequent summer droughts.In a gloomy forecast for Britain's environment department, a panel of independent analysts predicted as many as 5,900 more people could die as a result of hotter summers - but also claimed there will be a sharp reduction in deaths currently due to cold weather by the 2050s.Infrastructure and businesses will be badly affected by more frequent floods, with the cost of damage likely to rise from 1.3 billion pounds ($2 billion) to as much as 12 billion pounds ($18.8 billion) by the 2080s, if adequate preparations aren't taken.By the 2050s, between 27 million and 59 million people in Britain are likely to be living in areas suffering problems with water supplies, the report claims. Britain is predicted to have a population of about 77 million by 2050.Beaches and historic coastlines are likely to be reshaped by coastal erosion, with the rate expected to increase fourfold, the report said. \This might have significant implications for communities and habitats