Climate Change This Week: Rising Seas and Super Storms, Solar Gets Cheaper, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

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Forests: Important To Our Life Cycles as they conserve our land, our climate, and sources of drugs, foods, and materials. Credit Eco Suparman

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

OO Conservation Giant Puts $100 Million Into Amazon Protected Areas – the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will focus on increasing forest reserves, leveraging more conservation funding, and supporting policies that protect forests as part of land use plans.

OO China: Forest Conservation Program Shows Proof Of Success – catastrophic flooding from deforestation was a big motivation to reverse forest loss, and the government acted.

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Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

OO 10 Facts About Forests For International Forest Day

Forests cover about 30% of Earth’s land – but that’s decreasing:

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Going, Going … We still lose vast areas of forests yearly. Source Mongabay.com

  • an estimated 15+ billion trees are chopped down yearly, out of a global total that ranges in 100s (possibly 1000s) of billions;
  • forests have been almost halved in the past 12,000 years – mostly by us, and we’re doing so much faster, mostly in the tropics, now that we number in the billions.

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Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

  • Most deforestation is due to agriculture and livestock production, logging, and forest fires.
  • Wildfires are increasing to clear forests, or due to manmade climate change, which degrades forests and creates hotter drier climates that make more wildfires likely.

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Source Mongabay.com

Forests store MASSIVE amounts of carbon, and are important to us because:

  • they help maintain good moderate temperatures far beyond their borders;
  • help maintain rainfall and weather patterns;
  • reduce erosion and run-off into rivers,
  • stem drought and flood cycles,
  • and provide critical habitat for millions of species.

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Protection Payback – preserving their Amazon forest is simply home maintenance.Source pinterest

Some of the best protected forests are those inhabited by indigenous people.

The encouraging news is:

  • Forests are recovering in some countries, as people recognize their importance.
  • Forests are better monitored than ever before, via satellites, and online monitoring plateforms.
  • One- eighth of global forests are managed for biodiversity protection – but we need far more protected forests to ensure a healthy human future.

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Threatened Visions of Paradise – the forests of Papua New Guinea is home to several species of Birds of Paradise. Source Cornell Lab of Ornithology

OO Corruption Threat To Pacific Island Forests – as illegal logging flourishes in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, creating harmful environmental and social impacts.

OO Taking Action:
France Imposes New Palm Oil Tax
– as Indonesia and Malaysia, where illegal deforestation for palm oil production is rampant, protest.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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LOOMING LOSS OF COASTAL CITIES?

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OO Famed Climate Scientist James Hansen
Warns ‘Loss Of All Coastal Cities’
– as the lead author of a new major study indicating sea levels could rise much faster than previously predicted. Takeaways:

  1. As ice sheets melt, the water forms a layer over surrounding ocean.
  2. This water causes oceans to retain extra heat.
  3. This heat melts the underside of fringing ice sheets,
  4. Speeding the melting of the ice sheets.

Ice Melt and Super Storms – could create an irreversible future that would destroy the world’s major cities within the next century – our children’s and grandchildren’s time. Is this what we want to leave them?

  • All this added water could slow, then stop key ocean currents,
  • Crucial for distributing heat around the planet.
  • 2 unusually cold blobs of water off Greenland and Antarctica may be the start of this.
  1. This would create far bigger temperature differences between the tropics and North Atlantic,
  2. Driving far bigger “super storms” than any we’ve seen.

“All hell will break loose in the North Atlantic and neighboring lands,” he says.

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A separate study says…

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A Watery US Future? Source http://www.hastingstribune.com

OO Sea Level Rise Could Flood 13 Million Americans By 2100
Especially the South
– think North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Louisiana — and California.

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@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
– Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it out!

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HOT NEWS

WE’RE NOT SWITCHING TO CLEAN ENERGY FAST
ENOUGH TO STOP DANGEROUS WARMING

OO As Temperatures Spike,
New Doubts About Holding Warming To 2 Degrees C
– New analyses suggest we’re still not switching to clean energy fast enough.

Related Headlines:

OO Earth Crushed Temperature Milestones This Winter,
Edging Closer To Climate Guardrail

OO Beyond Record Hot, February Was ‘Astronomical’ and ‘Strange’ and ‘staggering’ said US federal scientists as they struggled to convey just how bizarre the heat was.

OO Australia: Record Temperatures For March
A Warning Of What’s To Come
say experts, if Australia doesn’t act immediately to combat climate change.

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A Catastrophically Common Sight – many cattle are dying due to drought in Africa.

OO Drought, High Temperatures
‘Leaves 36 Million People Across Africa Facing Hunger’
as an unusually strong El Niño, and record-high temperatures, has had catastrophic effects on crops and rainfall across southern and eastern Africa.

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OMINOUS ARCTIC TALES

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When The Caribou Leave the art remains, carved in whalebone and caribou antler by Inuit Artist Ross Flowers at http://www.spiritwrestler.com

OO Dramatic Warmth Threatens Everything
In an Inland Arctic Town
“For the elders in the community, they’ve seen the entire ecosystem change.” People have survived on salmon, caribou, moose, wild berries, and growing their own food, but now:

  • Caribou have practically disappeared;
  • Salmon are few, far smaller, and often show sores;
  • Rivers run brown, not clear;
  • New plants and animals are changing the land.

OO Food Insecurity: Arctic Heat Threatens Coastal Indigenous Life – as the ice disappears and soaring temperatures alter the life cycles and abundance of their prey, a growing number of indigenous communities are facing food shortages.

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THE CLIMATE CHEAT SHEET

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Extreme Weather Is Just the Beginning… there will be far more fallouts as climate change worsens – famine, floods, desperate migrations, civil unrest… meantime…

OO Short Answers to Hard
Questions About Climate Change
– for the longer answers and more questions, go to the source.
For now, here’s a sampler :

1. How much is the planet heating up? 1.7 degrees is actually a big amount.

2. How much trouble are we in? For future generations, big trouble. [MEH: and lots now.]

3. What’s the worst-case scenario? There are many.

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Clean Tech Helps – but is just a slice of the solution pie that will dramatically slow climate change. Credit Jean-Paul Pelissier at Reuters

4. Will a tech breakthrough help us? [presumably this refers to physically manipulating the climate]
Even Bill Gates says don’t count on it, unless we commit the cash.

5. Why do people question climate change? Hint: ideology.

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CUTTING POLLUTION NEEDS TO ACCELERATE:
FIRST CUTS WILL AID WARMING

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The Double Edged Sword – air pollution from fossil fuels kills people but has also help cool the atmosphere slightly. As we cut pollution, the decreased cooling will slightly aid global warming initially – which means we have to cut climate changing emissions even faster than thought.

OO Europe: Cuts In Air Pollution Have
Boosted Arctic Warming By 0.5C
– since the 1970s, a new study suggests, as the cooling effect from particulate pollution wore off; cutting pollution dramatically is needed, however, to stop the rise of climate changing gases in the atmosphere, the dominant force behind Arctic warming and global warming.

A similar effect might happen as China cuts pollution…

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Source AFP via Getty Images

OO China Is Responsible For 10% Of Human Influence On Climate Change a new study says, over the entire industrial era. Cutting some types of aerosol, in a much-needed bid to improve air quality, could drive faster warming in the coming decades.

OO China’s Changing Economy:
Carbon Emissions Will Likely Slow
– and may peak well before 2025, a new study suggests, as the economy undergoes major transformation towards more sustainable growth.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO Record Surge In 2016 Temperatures
Adds Urgency To Climate Deal, Say Scientists
– to curb greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change.

“I think even the hard-core climate people are looking at this and saying: ‘What on Earth’?” a director at the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, said of the leap in temperatures.

“It’s definitely a changed planet … It makes us nervous about the long-term impact.”

Scientists say global warming is causing more powerful downpours, droughts and rising sea levels.

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Let’s Keep This a Cartoon … Credit Chan Lowe

OO Community & Pentagon Opposition Helps Sink Offshore Drilling:
Obama Stops Plans To Drill Off Southeast Us Coast
– nearly a hundred coastal communities voiced their opposition.

OO New Orleans Mayor Urges Louisiana To Recognize Climate Change Threat

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Source http://www.cbc.ca

OO Prime Minister Trudeau:
Addressing Climate Change Is An ‘Incredible Opportunity’ For Canada
– as he noted his plans to implement policies in Canada to help tackle climate change recently.

“The opportunity to invest in green tech and renewable energies is where the world is going, and Canada can either be dragged along by it, kicking and screaming, or we can choose to lead it”, he said.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Saved By Micro Hydro Power – the forests of Hunza Valley, Pakistan, are returning.
Source tribune.com.pk

OO Pakistan: River Power Cuts Mountain Forest Loss, Disaster Risk – Small-scale hydropower plants, built with US and private support, are providing power in remote, off-grid areas.

No longer chopped for firewood, mountain forests are regrowing, anchoring the soil, and preventing catastrophic flooding and mudslides during monsoon season.

Women are freed from hours of daily foraging for wood, and children can study beyond sundown with the new power – just a few of the vast social changes resulting from this new power.

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OO UK: Chancellor Urged To Invest Public Money In Renewable Energy – as a new analysis shows that investing in clean energy is cheaper than the current subsidy regime, which the current government says is too expensive.

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1000+ Cities Worldwide Have Public Bike Sharing Programs and the number continues to grow. Credit Russell and Alexandre Meddin at http://www.bikesharingmap.com

OO Taiwan: Taipei’s Bike-Sharing Program Transforms Commuting

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Just Barely Getting By – European fire salamanders have been slammed by a fungal disease. Credit Aah-Yeah at Flickr

OO Fungal Diseases Are Surging,
Threatening Species Worldwide
From the chytrid fungus in frogs to white-nose syndrome in bats to rattlesnakes and salamanders, and more is to come. But why? Global ecological stresses, including climate change, might be key.

“Fungal diseases tend to infect people with compromised immune systems,”Elizabeth Kolbert explains. “So are we seeing globally compromised immune systems in wildlife, and is that giving fungi an opportunity?”

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This Is Not Snow Damage to parts of the Great Barrier Reef has worsened; authorities have raised the alert to the second-highest level, indicating severe local coral bleaching. Courtesy of Oregon State University

OO Severe Coral Bleaching Worsens
In Most Pristine Parts Of Great Barrier Reef

Related Headline:

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Credit the UK Guardian, modified

OO Climate Change Will Lead To Deformed And Virus-Hit Coral Reefs – The more CO2 goes into the air, the more goes into oceans which are acidified by it. Although some heat can lessen the acid effect on corals, too much heat, as many corals are now experiencing, can kill corals.

Coral will become deformed from rising oceanic acidity, and increasingly fall victim to outbreaks of herpes-like viruses as humans continue to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to two new studies.

Combined, the two effects suggest coral reefs will have trouble recovering from bleaching events like current ones worldwide.

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Credit Andrew Warren

A New Butterfly – And Climate Sensor is the newly discovered Tanana Arctic butterfly, the only endemic Alaskan butterfly known. Sensitive to climate changes, butterflies like this can help scientists determine how much climate change is affecting their habitats.

OO What Can A New Alaskan Butterfly Teach Us About Climate Change?

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO Doubling Renewables By 2030 Could Save $4.2 Trillion — YEARLYworldwide, by bringing the share of renewables in the global energy mix up to 36%, research shows.

OO US Firm Has Found A Way To Salt Away Electricity, Literally SolarReserve says. The ability to store electricity at an affordable price is the treasure sought by utility engineers and financial wizards.

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Fossil Fuels Are Not Vital to Our Economy – as this graph shows: no growth to overall emissions as the world’s economies grew. But even such growth is unsustainable – we need to measure sustainability, not growth, as a sign of a healthy economy.

OO The Economy Is Growing, But Carbon Emissions Aren’t.
That’s a really big deal.
Clean energy and energy efficiency are having an effect.

OO Even as America Builds More Buildings,
Electricity Use Continues to Drop
– 2015 marked the 5 times in 8 years that electricity consumption dropped.

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American Voters Are Getting Concerned – now will they vote for leaders who will act? Public concern about climate change is at a new high, as the U.S. emerges from its warmest-ever winter.

OO ‘A Tipping Point’: Record Number Of Americans See Global Warming As Threat

So are Australians…

OO Australia: More Recognizing Climate Change Is Manmade after
February 2016 saw global warming records broken.

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Take Your Money and Leave is basically what the Lax Kw’ahams said to Big Oil.Source UK Guardian

OO Canada: A First Nation Rejects $1 Billion For A Pipeline;
Land And Lifestyle Are Priceless
– the Lax Kw’alaams set a model for all of us.

OO Arch Coal Backs Away From Huge Montana Mine as the second largest coal company deals with bankruptcy.

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CLUELESS LEADERS

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Credit Mike Peters

OO South Miami Mayor: “Rubio Is An Idiot” On Global Warming and that was back in 2014. Rubio never changed.

OO Florida Voters Care About Climate Change.
Too Bad The Republican Presidential Candidates Don’t.
In Florida’s presidential primary, 99 Republican delegates are up for grabs.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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Credit Mark L. Taylor at http://www.thedailycall.org

OO Mining Companies Pay Far Less Than They Should
For Taxpayer-Owned Coal
– Leases on federal land ignore coal’s real cost, Greenpeace says.

OO Coal Companies Rely Heavily On Public Lands Coal says a new report that highlights how much of U.S. coal production comes from federally subsidized leases; even so, coal companies struggle to stay afloat. Maybe it’s time to pop their waterbeds.

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Credit B. Rich Hedgeye at app.hedgeye.com

OO The U.S. Is Pumping All This Oil — So Where Are The Benefits?Takeaways:

  • As the US surges in oil production, more of the economy becomes dependent on it – and suffers when oil prices plummet.
  • US oil hasn’t made the US energy dependent – it still depends on the price of foreign oil.
  • Cheap Mideast oil destabilizes the countries that depend on it for most of their revenues – so the US is still trying to tamp down terrorism in unstable Mideast countries.

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OO States Launch Another Attack On EPA Mercury Rule – States want the Supreme Court to take another crack at U.S. EPA’s rule to limit power plants’ mercury emissions. That’s sorta like slamming the EPA for trying to limit lead exposure in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water.

OO World’s Largest Private Coal Company Warns Of Bankruptcy – Peabody Energy may be facing the global downturn on coal, as the appetite for coal assets, at any price, “is questionable.”

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

OO Obama Reverses Course On Drilling Off Southeast Atlantic Coast and withdrew permitting to drill there. Way to go, O!

OO Apple’s $1.5 Billion Green Bond Could
Inspire More Environmental Investments
– Apple’s willingness to borrow billions to address the economic impact of climate change could encourage others to do the same.

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ELECTION YEAR:

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If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

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OO Getting Misled By Short-Term Thinking In Our Presidential Debates – Not talking about climate change can lull the public into thinking it’s not present or important. Wrong.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

@@ Myth vs Truth: The Huge Value of Contraception is an incisive, heartfelt recognition of the value of contraception by Sarah Brown, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers:

Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxypayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearly
the Guttmacher Institute

Teen Childbearing Alone Cost US Taxpayers $9+ Billion In 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

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They can go here to find locations:

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And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS RISING

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OO Millions of Americans Stand to Benefit From Targeted Low-Income Solar Policies shows a new policy guide with a suite of solutions .

OO Pricing for Solar Systems in the US Dropped 17% in 2015

OO $2 Billion Loss for Generators as a Million U.S. Roofs Get Solar – anything that helps make fossil fuel burning obsolete is great news…

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Mar 29, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues and so does the California drought, despite recent El Nino driven rains.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

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There is, of course, much more news on the consequences and solutions to climate change. To get it, check out this annotated resource list I’ve compiled, “Climate Change News Resources,” at WordPress.com here. For more information on the science of climate change, its consequences and solutions you can view my annotated list of online information resources here.

To help you understand just what science does and does NOT do, check thisout!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this skipper on a lily I photographed one spring. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and textsare freely available.

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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