Climate change 'could disrupt wi-fi and hit power supply'
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent 2:12PM BST 09 May 2011
Already the transport sector is preparing for temperatures above 104F (40C) this summer, which could lead to breakdowns on the railways.
Speaking at Blackfriars Station in London, which Network Rail is currently fitting with solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems in order to be more resilient against power cuts, Ms Spelman said the UK is already investing £200 billion over the next five years.
But that will not be enough to stop economic impacts of climate change if it is invested in the wrong areas.
She warned of intense rainfall, droughts and heatwaves in the next 50 to 100 years because of man-made global warming. The signal from wi-fi cannot travel as far when temperatures increase. Heavy downfalls of rain also affect the ability of the device to capture a signal.
"Our economy is built on effective transport and communications networks and reliable energy and water supplies.
"But the economy cannot grow if there are repeated power failures, or goods cannot be transported because roads are flooded and railways have buckled, or if intense rainfall or high temperatures disrupt Wi-Fi signals.
"£200 billion is expected to be invested in the UK's infrastructure over the next five years. But if the facilities which support our society cannot cope with floods, droughts or freezing winters then that money will have been wasted."