Cool trains, climate change and Blackberry black-outs

2 min read

Siobhan WagnerSenior Reporter

London commuters not tempted to hop onto a “Boris bike” will be pleased to hear that their underground travels may soon become a less sweaty affair.

London Underground has unveiled its first new air-conditioned train, which begins serving the Metropolitan line from today.

There will eventually be 191 air-conditioned trains on the underground system, serving 40 per cent of the network.

London’s other subsurface routes–the Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines–will be next to roll out cooler trains.

It will likely raise expectations for commuters travelling on some of the city’s more sweltering deep underground lines, but there is no word yet on when air conditioning systems will be deployed for those lines. 

Transport for London say it has cut its carriage cooling money by 25 per cent, from £40m to £30m to address budget cuts. Click here to read an in depth report on how London Underground is spearheading an initiative aimed at cooling the system.

Meanwhile, temperature control on a global scale will be on the minds of those gathered at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which begins talks in Bonn today.

The talks are in preparation for climate change negotiations that will take place in Cancun, Mexico in November and December 2010.

At the same time a newly published report by academic network Climate Strategies warns that current emission pledges are insufficient. The study claims that countries’ pledged emissions targets need to be strengthened to ensure that global emissions will be halved by 2050.

According to the report ‘Analytic support to target based negotiations,’ if greater action is not taken now, future generations will have to make deep emission reductions to maintain the path to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius. It concludes that countries’ pledged targets under the Copenhagen Accord are insufficient to drive the robust price in the carbon market needed to peak emissions by 2020.

The outcome of this week’s climate talks may be missed by mobile internet users in the oil rich Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia where bans on some Blackberry functions have been announced because of security concerns.

While the UAE has announced a block on sending e-mails, browsing the internet and ‘pinging’ instant messages to other Blackberry handsets, Saudi Arabia is focusing its ban on the instant messaging service.

The ban has been set reportedly because of the unique way Blackberry handsets send encrypted data to computer servers outside the two countries.

Blackberry owner Research in Motion traffics handset data via its Canadian headquarters.

It is estimated there are 500,000 Blackberry users in the UAE, and 400,000 in Saudi Arabia.