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back to article Soot almost as bad as CO2 for global warming

US scientists have said switching anti-global warming efforts to tackling the production of soot would offer a quicker return than cutting CO2 emissions. According to US scientists, enormous damage is being done by soot, which is being created by the combustion of fossil fuels and as an indirect result of deforestation, among …

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Coat

if they keep on researching ..

they will eventually find the real cause behind global warming : Humans !

Humans are to blame for all of it, so they should be eradicated from the planet ...

mine's the one with the phone number for Dr Kevorkian on the back

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Rob
Coat

Oh really?

So where has all this global warming been the last few days? Snow at Easter and It's fucking freezing in my office!

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Silver badge
Coat

And maybe a volcano or two

Krakatoa and Mt. St. Helens to name a few. Then again, didn't those block out the sun and cause a longer winter? And there was the "nuclear winter" problem when atomic weapons were more "common". Maybe I've mixed it up a bit, or the "scientists" are wrong? No, couldn't be wrong, that would mean Al Gore was wrong, and we know he is NEVER ("I invented the internet") wrong.

Just walking out the door.....

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Thumb Down

and

politicians are ALMOST as bad as paedo's for psycho-physio-socio-economic development of children. or is it the other way around?

Any Parisienne sign of an IT angle?

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Thumb Up

Good

Perhaps diesels can now be outlawed. I hate the bloody things!

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Anonymous Coward

CO2 is not the main culprit

Most climate scientists agree methane is the main culprit, not CO2. Sounds like it's not only the population that needs re-educating but some of the people researching the problem as well.

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Anonymous Coward

The Chinese have the best Global Warming prevention policy......

One sprog per family.

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Pirate

If CO2 is the main culprit

We'd better stop breathing too.....

Or will they just create a exhaling tax??

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Flame

50 years ago today

Most climate scientists seem to be too young to remember what cities were like before the 1970s when smokeless coal was introduced. If the small amounts of soot in the air today are a problem, why didn't we all fry 50 years ago?

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Flame

Global warming is a myth!!!!!

Temperature change is cyclic and we happen to be in a perfectly normal temperature upswing.

Soot will be recycled, into the dirt.

CO2 levels are NOT measurably higher than they were 50 years ago.

Temperatures are on average 0.1c higher than they were 50 years ago.

I think it is time to look and see who is making money off this global warming BS.

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Stop

Global warming follows global cooling

Just after the view of the planet becomes obscured with ash and large amounts of various greenhouse gases float into the stratosphere the infrared heat being absorbed from the sun and generated on earth will not be completely radiated away. The global warming will become a runaway process at some point. There is still time!

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So again the coal-fired generators are fingered...?

Coal fired generation of electricity is the real bad guy in the world, releasing huge amounts of dangerous contaminents into the air (radiation, mercury... you name it, they've got it), CO2, soot, etc.

The sooner we get rid of them, the better.

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Coat

Really?

Who gives a s**t?

My coat's the charcoal grey one, thanks.

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Incentives work...

If we want this process moving, we need incentives... Some of these may be extreme, and could use a lot of discussion, likely major tweaking, and certainly are not the only options, but here goes:

Here's a few, starting with passing a few general laws:

- require all new window installations (and all existing windows starting in 2020) to have thermally sensitive solar films and a minimum efficiency rating

- start systematically increasing EnergyStar rating targets.

- Require all plug-in adapters for personal electronics to use no power when the device is not attached or fully charged and powered off.

- Increase the minimum SEER rating for AC units (again)

- Require all single family home construction to include solar generation for not less than 50% of it's expected energy use in any market where this system could pay itself off in less than 10 years from electric bill savings alone at current rates. (some locations due to weather cycles, daylight hours, or shade from hill or other immovable object should be exempt)

- make the sale of all incandescent lights illegal, and require LED over CF where applicable (night lights, etc)

- Guarantee financing for any vehicle being traded in for a more efficient vehicle if the new car payment will be the same or less than the existing car payment, including estimated fuel cost savings (old payment was $300, new payment could be up to $400 assuming $100/month savings at the pump). Guarantee this regardless of credit rating, so long as the current vehicle is in good standing with a bank. For those not currently making payments, guarantee financing for any vehicle purchased that will have a $100 or less monthly payment plus fuel cost savings, provided a downpayment of 25% of the vehicles fair market value is paid, along with all taxes, title, etc. Lock interest rates at prime plus 4% for this purpose unless their credit rating provides a better rate under existing finance laws.

- make it illegal to resell a passenger vehicle that gets less than 50% of the current MPG peak for new vehicles of in its class. Their fair market value will be set at ther scrap/recyclable value for trade-in.

- require tire pressure sensors in all new vehicles.

- Require 25% of all vehicles sold in 2012 to have CVT transmissions, 50% in 2013, 75% by 2014, and 100% by 2015.

- Require power companies to buy excess power from you that you generate at the same $/KWH that you are billed for.

A few tax incentives for folks and businesses:

- Government subsidy for solar panel installaltion up to $5000 / 1000 sqft heated home space, or 50% of total solar solution cost, whichever is greater, assuming the solution will pay itself back by power bill reduction within 12 years. (the limit should keeps nuts in Alaska from trying to install solar panels)

- When trading in a car for a newer model (new or used purchase) provide a one time tax rebate equal to $100 for each MPG the new purchase is more efficient than the traded in vehicle.

- allow 100% of all interest paid for financing a home efficiency project (new windows, upgraded insulation, solar installation, etc) to be tax deductable.

- Tax rebate of $500 anually for each employee converted into a telecommutor. (prorated for the number of months of employment in such a position)

- $3500 tax rebate towards the purchase of a plug-in electric commuter class (sub compact) vehicle

- Eliminate 50% (or more) of toll charges for any vehicle traveling commuter freeways with 3 or more occupants inside.

- 2% energy bill discount, if you allow your thermostat to be monitored by the power company for load balancing (so they can cut off your AC or heat for not more than 30 minutes per 12 hour period in order to load balance the power grid). This should be credited by the power company, not the government, since it's in their benefit for you to do this.

A few new taxes: (used to pay for incentives above. If there's extra left over, it all goes to building either a superconducting electrical grid or 100% renewable poewr plants)

- 1% additional sales tax on all household grocery purchases totaling less than $75 (penalizes those who shop more than once per week for household items) This would not apply to purchases of individually packaged items (personal size bag of chips, a cold soda, pack of gum, etc, though these items would count towards the $75 if purchased together with other items).

- 1% sales tax for each % under 87% that a power supply in an item is rated for.

- 2% federal gas tax, increasing by an additional 2% anually to 20%, then 5% per year thereafter

- Designate by purpose of vehicle (not type or class or size, but intended USE) a target MPG rating. This should be such that only 20% of the vehicles used for that purpose meet or exceed this goal. For each 1 MPG below this target for a vehicle, add 1% use tax, payable ANUALLY based on the fair market value of the vehicle. This also applies to used car purchases. This will take effect 5 years after passing. ALL vehicles will start paying this tax after 5 years (giving existing owners pleanty of time to save up and trade in before being taxed). The laws and tax incentives listed above to assist trade-ins for bad or no credit buyers should make this painless. An equivolency rating for electic cars needs to be published as well as for renewable fuel vehicles. perhaps instead of MPG, we need to look at CO2/mile, including "wells to wheels" not "tank to wheels" (accounting for production of the renewable energy source, not just it's in-vehicle efficiency).

- 2% use tax if you heat your house to above 70 or cool it below 78. (actually, to make this easier, we'll give you for free a thermostat that locks you in to these temp ranges that's compatible with your unit, and is also programable for home/away modes and allowing you to set even more environmentally concious ranges, but if you don't have one installed within 3 years, we'll add this tax to your electric bill until you prove you have installed one).

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Stop

Wolf!

Is it just me or has everyone heard so many arguments and doomsday predictions regarding climate change that these reports have just become white noise. Right now I am starting to think that the scientists who are publishing this have no idea what is causing global warming and are just plucking things out of the air to blame.

Cant think of a more apt description for this then the boy who cried wolf or maybe the scientists who cried apocalpyse.

I am going to combat global warming the only way I know how and that is simply waiting until the latest enviro-huggy tech is at a price that is reasonable (hybrid cars that dont cost a lifetimes worth of food for a family in a concern ad anyone?) . As regards anything else, the government will legislate or tax and we will obey. So avoid the oh so fashionable eco movement and just sit back and relax. The tech isnt far off with the way oil prices are going!

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Dead Vulture

@Rob

Here's the rub: you aren't the world and your place isn't the entire planet.

Sorry to bust your happy delusion.

And as for "CO2 not the main culprit" actually, CO2 is second AFTER water. But water tends to fall out as rain. We need it a LOT colder to have CO2 rain.

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@Michael C

Feel free to introduce all those measures in your part of the world.

There will be little positive impact but I'm sure you'll feel much better for complying with all these rules, and your fellow citizens will be equally happy and will let you know this in a particularly direct fashion.

And why fiddle with all this stuff when it would be much more effective to just radically reduce the numbers within unproductive parts of the global population?

Anyway, flame over...

Am I the only one who remembers atmospheric particulates being blamed for 'global dimming', and a consequent drop in global temperature? And that the gradual clearing of the air was causing an increase in temperatures?

Is it possible that someone has done some sloppy research, based on 'Soot is black. And black things absorb heat instead of reflecting it.'? It certainly wouldn't surprise me!

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Paris Hilton

What a load of tosh

This is the first time that I have responded (ever) on this kind of thing but what I read makes me want to vomit. Climate change happens. Nothing we can do about it. Get over it. If humanocentric warming happens then we are probably averting an ice age (for the less mentally challenged look up Maunder Minimum etc). Personally, I would rather see the planet warm by a couple of degrees than see the ice. And for those who say "...what about the glaciers...?" why the fscking hell do you think Greenland was called Greenland? We have survived temperatures much warmer than this and we will do so again. Whether we can survive an ice age is another matter and I would rather my kids didn´t have to find out. Put it down to too much vino but I really get fed up with morons who believe every word that they read in the Sun or whatever repeating the drivel that is put about....

I give up. And yes, I have a background in climatology (see, I can even spell the word) unlike most of the posters who have but a passing acquaintance with both spelling and grammar).

Paris, because she is probably brighter than most of the posters who talk about this stuff - and I hope that they know more about IT otherwise we are really in the shit......

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Dead Vulture

What the article actually says

If you read the article, the conclusion runs as such:

* Soot is as bad as CO2 in the short-run.

* CO2 is a greater long term problem.

"It is important to emphasize that BC reduction can only help delay and not prevent unprecedented climate changes due to CO2 emissions."

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Happy

Kiss Your Obese Rear Ends Goodbye

While global warming is occuring and its cause is almost certainly affected and enhanced by human activities like electricity production, autos, etc. There's really very little to be done about it. To halt co2 production would require that economic activity virtually halt as the technologies to replace coal and petrol are invented, developed, and deployed.

Now, think about that! In the US alone there are some 220 MILLION passenger cars, even if a vehicle that does not pollute were available today and manufacturered in numbers high enough to satisfiy the current annual demand for new vehicles of 15-20 million vehicles per year, it would STILL take 20 years to replace all the petrol cars on the road today. When one considers the FACT that a miracle technology to replace gasoline does not even exist today and is probably 15-20 years away from being commercially feasible.

The same is true of coal fired electricity, a coal fired turbine plant takes a couple of years to conceive, finance, site, and costs hundreds of millions of dollars to build. Thus to replace ALL the coal fired plants in the US alone would be a MAMMOTH undertaking, and with what technology?

So then, resign yourself to what is coming because its GLOBAL and therefore unavoidable.

Have a nice day!

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Unhappy

Phew, that's handy...

> Most of the world's soot was created by Europe and North America until the 1950s, but since then the two regions have been overtaken in their contribution by nations in the tropics and the Far East.

When CO2 was the main culprit there was a danger that Western nations would have to make a sacrifice for the greater good. Thanks to this wonderful and timely piece of research, we can now justify having done nothing substantial to reduce CO2 emissions thus far and demand that Third World countries make the necessary sacrifices instead.

Hooray!

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J
Flame

Re: CO2 is not the main culprit

"Most climate scientists agree methane is the main culprit, not CO2. Sounds like it's not only the population that needs re-educating but some of the people researching the problem as well."

Not to mention the Anonymous Cowards commenting on the web... Where did you get that idea of "main culprit"? Methane is a stronger greenhouse gas, yes. Which means that, per amount of molecules, methane can retain more of the heat, so to speak; some 4 times more than CO2, according to the 1990 paper "Relative contributions of greenhouse gas emissions to global warming", Nature 344, 529 - 531 (05 April 1990). Is that what you had in mind when incorrectly saying "main culprit"?

Because there is another small detail... CO2 is 2 to 6 *orders of magnitude* more abundant in the atmosphere than the other greenhouse gases (excluding water). So, among those gases most of the warming effect must come from CO2, even if they are more powerful. Now, if the more powerful gases keep getting more abundant... (icon)

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What about fireplaces and woodstoves?

Everyone likes to cuddle up in front of the fireplace, right?

Did you know that a 'classic' fireplace only have a 10 - 15% efficiency, and will actually LOWER the temperature in the rest of the house?

(After all, it may suck out 500cubic metres of air every hour, and that must come from somewhere)

An older model stove may have a 50% efficiency, and modern 'clean-burning' stoves and built-in fireplaces go as high as 80 - 85%. In addition they prouce only 1/6 of the soot and other particles as the older stoves and fireplaces.

In fact, I can't understand why they still allow the old types to be sold in some parts of the world...

(Here in Norway, it's generally illegal to set up stoves older than from 1997)

It's not as if they're that difficult to manufacture...

(The difference between older and new stoves is a single iron plate)

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Coat

And here is the most important sentence

"Most of the world's soot was created by Europe and North America until the 1950s, but since then the two regions have been overtaken in their contribution by nations in the tropics and the Far East."

How very convenient. CO2 isn't our problem: it's those damn developing countries! As long as they stop burning wood to keep their families warm, I can carry on driving my SUV.

Thanks for pointing this out Richard. Shame none of the other commenters seem to have noticed.

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Rob
Stop

@ Mark

Your snide and nasty response to my (admittedly rather weak) joke is exactly the behaviour I'd expect from a typical watermelon.

Watermelon: Noun. Term used to describe envirofascists, because while they're green on the outside, they're red on the inside.

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Happy

@John Stag

There speaks a paid-up member of the wind lobby.....

What are you going to do when the wind doesn't blow?

Sit in the cold and dark -shivering, or press the "go" button on the coal-fired power stations that have to be kept "ticking over" for this frequent situation.

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@Trygve Henriksen

"Everyone likes to cuddle up in front of the fireplace, right? Did you know that a 'classic' fireplace only have a 10 - 15% efficiency, and will actually LOWER the temperature in the rest of the house? (After all, it may suck out 500cubic metres of air every hour, and that must come from somewhere)"

Did you know that many houses have an air-brick or vent fitted in the same room that an open fire or wood burning stove is located? (in the UK it's mandatory to have a sufficient vent installed before a new fire of this type is fitted - and the fitter should insist on this). So in many cases most of the air your talking about comes from the vent (as long as the other doors to the room are shut). You're right that in houses that don't have a vent in the same room the air may come in via the rest of the house although many older houses have air bricks under the level of the downstairs floorboards and where this is the case much of the air comes from under the floor. So the idea that it "will actually LOWER the temperature in the rest of the house" is wrong - it MAY lower the temperature in the rest of the house but this depends on other factors.

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Boffin

order, order...

Which scientists were these? Who paid them? What was their remit BEFORE embarking on their research? Why have they chosen now to release the results? Where is the corroborating evidence?

Without answers to these and many other important questions, research is nothing more than a waste of paper - and in this case probably of more value to us as a means to light fires.

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Flame

@neilmac

Where do you get the CO2 you breathe out?

From your food.

Where does your food get their CO2?

From the plants.

Where do plants get their CO2?

From the air.

How does it get into the air?

We breathe it out.

Pillock.

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Pirate

@baloysius

People die all the time. Nothing we can do to stop it.

So remove all the criminal charges of murder.

Twonk.

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Dead Vulture

@Rob

Tip of the day for you, Rob.

When you make such a lame-ass joke it is usually a good idea to use either the coat icon or the "Joke alert" icon.

And it wasn't a joke, was it. You've been shown up in a simple and obvious way to be a tool. How do I know it wasn't a joke? Two reasons:

1) You use "envirofascists". You don't want to find out you're partly responsible or be told that we ought to change: you want to believe what makes you comfortable and that requires you make out the "other side" to be a bunch of facists intent only on controlling you. Makes ignoring their proofs easier: it's all religious fervor and therefore MUST be ignored.

2) You've make up a shit pet word of your own: watermelon. If you meant a joke, you've gone to a lot of trouble to make up a word meaning completely new to the world.

You tool.

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Jon
Boffin

Lessons

I was taught that global warming was increasing due to less soot. 'Global dimming' during the smoggy, coal burning industrial revoloution upto the 1950s caused particles to block the sun, making the planet cooler and tempering gloabal warming. It is only now with cleaner air that we feel the effects rapidly increasing. Or perhaps this was just made up to make the GW theory fit the "but why was there no increase for the industrial revoloution?" question.

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Gold badge
Coat

Exhaling tax?

Sorry, I just had a vision of the entire population of Scotland inflating to enormous sizes and then exploding.

The tatty, well-patched coat that has a few years life in it yet.

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Jobs Horns

They did not say ....

...how the soot is causing global warming (It just is, so there! Sorry, just couldn't help that).

Is the carbon slowly oxidizing making CO2?

Is the black carbon coating absorbing more heat?

Is there an upper atmosphere effect, aerosol agglomeration, capturing sulphur or something similar?

What we need is a solution. How about a nice layer of white expanded polystyrene over the polar regions to make up for the melted ice which used to reflect heat back into space? Come to think of it a nice layer over the whole earth could have the same effect.

Fancy a polystyrene sandwich anyone?

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Alert

SUV

I really laugh, when I hear that people spit out SUV as the main problem vehicle.

lol, I used to drive an SUV (Diesel - I did my research, relating to fuel efficiency), the car was specified to run at up to 17 km/litre (my own measurments showed 16.5km/liter in summer time, and 12 km/liter in winter time). Considering that I need to carry cargo, and people, then those small so-called environmentally friendly cars are near useless to me, and a true VAN, actually a fuel efficiency vastly worse than the SUV.

Take a large sized family car (similar dimensions SUV - and rather common), which is large enough to carry some cargo, and 4 people, in relative comfort, and then you notice that they run at only 9-11km/liter, unless they're diesel which then means they can manage simliar results to my old SUV..

People have picked a pet car type to complain about, but it is far from all SUV's that are terrible, a lot of normal familly cars are actually significantly worse, than SUV's when it comes to CO2 emissions.

Now of course there are examples such as the HUM V, etc, who barely make a couple of km per liter, but compare that to other luxury cars, and you will find that they are no better, a lot of ministerial cars (luxury cars) in Denmark barely manage 5km/liter.

Sporting Utility Vehicles are not all evil, and at least not worse than other so called normal cars, though they are overkill and not needed for driving around town - I live in the country.

Funny thing in Denmark they introduced duties on cars, and since I need the traction power of a 4x4 I had to downgrade my car, so that I could afford to use it, unfortunately the laws means that I've had to downgrade from my old SUV which did 12-16km/litre, to one that only manages 11km/liter, because the government bought the idea that SUV's are bad.

But back on the climate debate, in the 1970's sciencetists were predicting the start of the new ICE age, (which we are racing towards,) the interglacial periods (which we are in now), normally lasts for 12 - 20 000 years, and we are roughly 15-18 000 years into our interglacial period.

Looking at the graphs of temperature from the ice core samples. It appears that usually a temperature spike appears at the end of such an interglacial period, just before the rapid decline in temperature. Strangely enough the peak appears to be just around our current global temperature average. (Unfortunately 4-6 data points are statisically insignificant - which is similar to using 200 years of data to predict cycles that have a period much greater than 100 000 years - extrapolation generates huge errors, when you really don't have all the factors).

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Anonymous Coward

confused ...

I thought we were supposed to burn easily regrowing resources such as (wood and wheat) to decrease the CO2 foot print and now we are supposed to stop that again because it generates soot ???

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Re: confused ...

You can burn wood in a "smokeless" firebox, so the soot doesn't become a major issue. Burning an open fire doesn't get as hot and so combustion is less efficient and causes more soot, at higher temperatures, it's more efficient and burns more material.

Soot does fall out quickly. If nothing else, it's used to nucleate rain, causing the soot to rain out within days and causing more cloud (and more rain therefrom) as a competing factor.

The problem with wood as a primary source is that we are too profligate with our energy: we'd need to plant woods that will intrude greatly on our living and food production areas (or else spend a lot of energy growing, harvesting and transporting the material for burning).

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Flame

That's carbon black not black carbon...

1. Soot is referred to as carbon black. Not black carbon.

2. Water vapor is the main green house gas. Once we remove all the water from our atmosphere everything should cool down just peachy... Say about 20 degrees below freezing...

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Black Helicopters

@Mark

Hmmmm! Obviously too much Sun......

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