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« Chatham House on biofuels | Main | DIY integrated assessment model »
Sunday
Apr142013

Speak truth to power

The EU has launched a consultation into the 2015 International Climate Change agreement (H/T Pat Swords).

The purpose of this consultation is to initiate a debate with Member States, EU institutions and stakeholders on how best to shape the international climate regime between 2020 and 2030. The Consultative Communication sets out a context and poses a set of questions to frame this debate.

Details here.

The EU apparently tries to avoid speaking just to itself, although the terms of the consultation seem to have been worded so as to exclude dissenting voices. Nevertheless, it is always helpful to place these views on the record.

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Reader Comments (46)

...the terms of the consultation seem to have been worded so as to exclude dissenting voices.
How?
In the interests of transparency, the Commission asks organisations who wish to submit comments in the context of public consultations to provide the Commission and the public at large with information about whom and what they represent by registering in the Transparency Register...
You can also answer as a citizen. It’s not their fault if we can’t organise ourselves out of a paper bag (or a blog thread). A simple association of sceptics would have the right to be heard alongside the RSPB or WWF or whatever. It would also help us to hone our arguments.
Of course, the probability of the EU even existing in 2020 may be considered pretty minimal...

Apr 14, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I went back to their site to check, misclicked and and ended up at
http://ec.europa.eu/clima/tenders/index_en.htm

DG CLIMA also gives the opportunity to organisations to get some grants through calls for proposals... A grant or a subvention is a direct financial contribution from the European Commission to support a specific action or project of a non-commercial nature...
Dear Madam,
[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Go for it Geoff.

Apr 14, 2013 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@ Apr 14, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff,

F.F sake sign me up...quick!

Apr 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

Geoff, on the subject of slush funds, you're asking the wrong question - you wanna set up as a bogus 'green charity' and then stick the big spanner in.............

You'll have to join 'common purpose'/WWF/Greenpeace - then you're in - British taxpayers dosh on stream, lavish grants/money 'de nada', or just ask for a grant from some - er outwardly legit' UK charity fund.

Apr 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The grant proposal idea for sceptics sounds fun, but the process of getting projects submitted and approved by the EU is long and tortuous. I know. The funding in any case appears to be for consultation which means that they do not have to take regard of anything that might materialise.

Apr 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdward Bancroft

Seems to be a debate about the 'how do we' rather than the 'why should we'.
Mind you, I wouldn't mind holding the stakes for a while - even on overnight rates.

Apr 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Still deluded to think that reducing a trace atmospheric gas will affect climate. They would be better actually talking about the science that has been hijacked, distorted and otherwise misrepresented by econuts.

Apr 14, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Fenbeagle...was that a deliberate spelling of Geoff's proposed federation???

Apr 14, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

I thought Pat would be more interested in this one:

EU Green Paper on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies
http://ec.europa.eu/energy/consultations/20130702_green_paper_2030_en.htm

Consultation period From 28/03/2013 to 02/07/2013

The EU has a clear framework to steer its energy and climate policies up to 2020 and is making good progress towards meeting its climate and energy targets for 2020.

But providing clarity on a policy framework for 2030 is also needed, giving more certainty to investors, stimulate innovation and demand for low-carbon technologies and allow the EU to engage actively in the international negotiations for a new climate agreement.

The Green Paper raises a set of questions e.g. relating to the main lessons from the 2020 framework; type, nature and level of climate and energy targets for 2030; coherence between different policy instruments competitiveness and security of energy supply; and distribution of efforts between Member States.

This public consultation asks for insights and viewpoints on the basis of the questions included in the Green Paper with a view of informing the on-going work within the Commission of developing a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.

Apr 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The questionnaire indicates that the stance of the EU is still " the science is settled, we must act to prevent the coming catastrophe, CO2 is evil, etc etc" so no doubt anything sent in which challenges this viewpoint will go straight into the round filing cabinet.

Apr 14, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Speaking of speaking truth to power, when are we going to get updates and releases on the third Climategate release?
At least let us see the 'scrubbed' stuff. At least give some updates.
Silence this longs makes no god sense.
The information wants to be free.

Apr 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

All

Don't trivalise the significant of these consultations and the need to put in submissions. One of the reasons as to why there is only one 'true way', is because lobby groups pro-Green, etc, got organised, involved in such issues and dominated the resulting agenda. Is this going to happen again with this consultation and the other one mentioned? There is no doubt that instead of complying with their own guidelines COM(2002) 704, the EU has been indulging itself in confirmation bias:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2002:0704:FIN:en:PDF

However, by presenting opposing views one does start to open the door for more effective downstream measures, such as with the European Platform of Wind Farms (EPAW) which has now lodged an application to the European General Court to quash the further development of the EU renewable energy programme post 2020. The documents on this are available to view on the webpage of the Scottish renewable energy Communication ACCC/C/2012/68, dated 22.03.2013:

http://www.unece.org/env/pp/compliance/compliancecommittee/68tableeuuk.html

Finally, my Judicial Review on the Irish renewable energy programme kicked off yesterday afternoon (12th Friday) in front of the President of the Irish High Court. State tried to ram it through in a half day session making out that I was some form of vexatious nutter and that both me and the UNECE ruling were nothing short of nonsense (nonsense being a point repeatedly made in the closing summary by the State). This took the whole afternoon session of the President of the High Court, without even an opportunity available for my legal team to present. The President was then very annoyed, as he said at four pm when he had to leave, clearly this was a two to three day case and the State should have had arranged that. So they had their attempt to steam roll it aside, didn't work and now a date has to be set for continuation in a more detailed hearing.

Apr 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Hey Joe don't forget the

Manufactured Analysis Department in your organisation (MAD)

[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

One of the reasons as to why there is only one 'true way', is because lobby groups pro-Green, etc, got organised, involved in such issues and dominated the resulting agenda.

That's quite true; the problem is that agit-prop, activism and mobilization is the essence of the Green/Left, and they do it unceasingly and with great fervour.

By contrast, trying to organize free-thinking skeptics is like herding cats. Similarly, the skeptic movement doesn't have -- never will have -- a "single voice", simply because skeptics prefer to have their own ideas rather than be corralled into supporting an official line. The moment you toe the party line is the moment you stop being a skeptic.

It is inherent in the skeptic approach that we are disorganised and diffused, which is why we have to rely on brave individuals like Mr Swords and our host here to provide some focus and thrust to our fight.

Apr 14, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

My experience of considerable effort in responding to consultations is that unless one agrees pretty much with the consultation, the submission is totally rejected (the reponse has been along the lines of "some consultees disagreed"). Consultation exercises are just going through the legal motions. There are always slight changes to the consultation document, just to appear as if the consultation has some validity. But don't let me put folk off from responding to the consultation.

Apr 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Rick

One can be an individual citizen and make an individual contribution / submission to the consultation. The issue is that these consultations are important, as they are part of the legal process. Also if one can write to a blog, one can also write to an EU Consultation. The problem to date is that the EU has been increasingly using these consultations as a form of 'confirmation bias', which has been facilitated by the active engagement of the Green movement and 'rent seekers', who have dominated this process to date. This has not been healthy in terms of the resulting legislation and programmes, which have emerged, which have not been critically evaluated by others who are neither ideologically preoccupied or engaged in clear 'rent seeking'.

If one does not engage, is it then fair to sit on the fence and simply criticise what emerges? On the other hand, if people engage, they assert their rights, which can be further developed at a latter stage as things progress, such as described below on the Irish 'sceptics' website:

http://www.turn180.ie/?p=748

Apr 14, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Philip

Times are a changing. You are correct in what has often happened in the past and there are officials out there who want to continue in that manner. However, it most certainly is not part of the legal framework that they should be allowed to behave in that manner. So bit by bit it is necessary to change that and slowly bit by bit that is occurring. For instance with respect to the UK, there were major developments in this field on Thursday when the European Court ruled on what is 'not prohibitively expensive' and as to how the UK Supreme Court should now implement it.

http://tinyurl.com/c82vvm5

Furthermore, while the EU does not comply with the Aarhus Convention on how it conducts these consultations, it is part of EU law and the Commission is acting outside it. As to how the Consultation should be evaluated according to the legal framework, I have to refer you to page 109 of the 'Aarhus Convention: An Implementation Guide':

http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/acig.pdf

Apr 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Rick Bradford,
Your post rings true, but quite a few cats might be willing to be herded under a broad enough banner. I'd go for it if the central plank didn't include a rejection of known science. An organisation focused on magnitude of climate sensitivity and appropriate policy response would appeal to me. I don't want to sit next to someone asking whether the RTE have any relevance or whether there has been any temperature rise during the 20th century. I think a lot of science-based sceptics would sign up, and if sky-dragons are excluded from the club, so much the better for credibility IMHO.

Geoff Chambers,
[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul_K

I agree with Pat Swords. The times they are a'changin. Now is the time for vigorous action on every front in Europe and America, which is where this most of this CAGW post-normal science originated. Movements arise when there is a perceived need for them to do so. That is why the Warmist movement succeeded. Conditions were created by activists that allowed them to prosper to the extent they have thus far. This was accomplished through disinformation and the dissemination of science afflicted by confirmation bias. Nearly opposite conditions now exist. More rigorous, objective scientific findings are being published and the results often falsify or raise doubt about previous findings. Governments are just beginning to take notice. Therefore victory, or something resembling it, is within reach.

Apr 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Bureaucrats indulge in these 'consultation exercises' as a tactic to present their predetermined conclusions as a consensus of those consulted. It simultaneously obfuscates their own lack of accountability and provides arse-covering for when their idiotic box-ticking policies inevitably go wrong.

Apr 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Commission officials are compelled to conduct post consulation analysis to determine the level of support for each proposal. Pat is correct when he says:


"The problem to date is that the EU has been increasingly using these consultations as a form of 'confirmation bias', which has been facilitated by the active engagement of the Green movement and 'rent seekers', who have dominated this process to date."

If well evidenced, well argued submissions are made it can require officials to find rebuttals or cause them to modify or dilute their proposals. Commission officials are just civil servants, like all civil servants they just want easy policy and a quiet life. Good arguments will make their lives more complex and miserable and will definately slow down the progress of bad policy. Consultation responses are also posted on the commissions "transparency platform" which helps parliamentarian researchers and other groups to develop and refine their own arguments.

It is important to note here that the EU administration will go into pre-election "purdah" or shutdown at least a month before the EU parliamentary elections between 22 and 25 May 2014. Responding to consulations with good evidence can slowdown those who wish to push through bad policy before the old administration is disolved and provide information for the new administration when then come in. Europe is on a knife edge economically and it is likely that new commissioners will have vastly different world views to the out gowing Hedegaard and the rest. Anything that can slowdown or stymie the ability for DG Clima to get policy agreement between now and the Spring of 2014 will be entirely worthwhile.

Apr 14, 2013 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Registered CommenterDung

[Snip - raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

[Snip -raise the tone please]

Apr 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

I wonder if Josh can produce a cartoon of the new coalition.

Apr 14, 2013 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Commenting on a blog is easy, but in terms of effective engagement it's very often simply more hot air and arm waving (with the odd acronym thrown in :-).

Once more Pat Swords puts us all to shame. There has to be somebody more organised and eloquent than me (for a start) who would be prepared to front this with - at the very least - a bit of sensibly large funding / fund raising and other active help from the rest of us.

Bish, is this your true vocation calling?

Apr 14, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

The Global Warming Policy Foundation ought to put in a submission. I wonder if they will do so?

Apr 14, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The consultation is extremely limited. There are two questions.

The first is about suggesting ways to drastically cut GHG emissions without cutting economic growth.
The second is suggesting ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions without exporting jobs out of the EU.

The EU fully realises that current policies are highly damaging to the EU economies. As energy costs are a key driver of economic growth, they are wanting to have a source of limitless power with zero pollution at much lower cost than anything currently available. If anyone had such an idea, they would patent it quick and not drop it into any EU suggestion box.

Apr 14, 2013 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

You maybe interested in a consultative document called The 2015 International Climate Change Agreement: Shaping international climate policy beyond 2020

It's start is a nice little statement -

"Scientific advances have removed any reasonable doubt that we are warming the planet: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), fifth assessment report due at the end of 2014 is expected to provide further authoritative evidence that human-induced climate change is happening."

From that beginning the document goes on about where CO2 is originating (per country) and where the money is coming from and going to.
So geoffchambers if you want to put together your grant application 'monitoring' must be the best money-spinner.

Link: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/future/docs/swd_2013_97_en.pdf

Apr 14, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered Commentertckev

Apparently humour is bad and appearance is everything. Not only has this blog morphed from being a skeptic blog into a luke warmer blog it has now become a politically correct blog, great shame.

Apr 14, 2013 at 11:37 PM | Registered CommenterDung

"Apparently humour is bad and appearance is everything. Not only has this blog morphed from being a skeptic blog into a luke warmer blog it has now become a politically correct blog, great shame."
Dung, 2013
"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you
do, sir?"
Not Dung, 2013

Apr 15, 2013 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Pat Swords, you are doing everyone a great service, and leading by example. Please keep it up.

Apr 15, 2013 at 2:20 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

4:40 PM | Jake Haye

minor modification:

"Bureaucrats indulge in these 'consultation exercises' as a tactic to present their predetermined conclusions as a consensus of those consulted. It simultaneously obfuscates their own lack of accountability and provides arse-covering for when their loaded multiple choice box-ticking policies inevitably go wrong."

Chairman Al's comment is seductive but runs contrary to my experience of present UK civil servants in the same branch of government as DECC where they see no problem with making false and unsupported assertions to justify disastrously ill judged action / inaction. The theory (make that legal obligation) that civil servants are compelled behave themselves is just that - it needs quantifying experimentally and my reading of the situation after a few circuits of the dancefloor with civil servants is that they simply dance to a different tune altogether. I suppose that evaluating "levels of support" for heading in the wrong direction are a start ...maybe.

I think most here are suspicious of any olive branches from Brussels - and with good reason.

Does anybody know how many fully expensed full time eco lobbyists are trouping around the EU Commission and how many "briefing documents" do they bombard the Commission officials with ?

All power to Pat for pursuing this - but I feel it's a skirmish - a worthwhile one that will serve to publicly remind the PTB that they can't simply make up daft stuff and expect everybody to acquiesce on receipt of a grant.

From Pat's commentary on the JR I'd guess that there's considerable pressure being applied behind the scenes and that the independence of the Irish judiciary is likely at issue in this matter. Gonna be interesting...

Apr 15, 2013 at 2:51 AM | Registered Commentertomo

@Pat Swords

your post 1:14pm April 14

So, the State belly-flopped on attempted bullying of the Court, annoying the fxxxk out of the Court President for time-wasting and got clobbered for not allocating sufficient time for the case to heard properly. Well done indeed ... not even John Cleese or Father Ted could have scripted a bigger stuff-up

Please let us know when the bullies have to be back in Court. That bullying of the Court was attempted speaks volumes about how fearful the State is of the outcome of this case. Great stuff indeed !!

Apr 15, 2013 at 6:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Apr 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Phillip Bratby

My experience of considerable effort in responding to consultations is that unless one agrees pretty much with the consultation, the submission is totally rejected (the reponse has been along the lines of "some consultees disagreed"). Consultation exercises are just going through the legal motions. There are always slight changes to the consultation document, just to appear as if the consultation has some validity.

Indeed. The so-called "enquiries" pursuant to Climategate** provide perfect examples of this principia bureaucratica in action. A more recent example can be found in the Leveson Inquiry's treatment of the submission by our host and Tony N.

** The notable exception being the InterAcademy Council's 2010 review of the policies and procedures of the IPCC, which certainly did reflect the views of those who had responded. The resulting recommendations of which, of course - to the surprise of few - the powers that be at IPCC decided to re-interpret and/or ignore.

Pat Swords, I very much admire and respect your perseverance, patience and polite tenacity in the face of so much bureaucratic adversity - much as I admire and respect that of our host, of Steve McIntyre, Doug Keenan David Holland and Tony N. amongst others. And I sincerely hope that you do win your case (preferably in my lifetime!)

I also strongly agree with those (including you) who take the view that the times they are a changing. I just wish that the winds of change could, well, blow a little faster than we thought!

Apr 15, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Rick Bradford Apr 14, 2013 at 2:15 PM |
It is inherent in the skeptic approach that we are disorganised and diffused, which is why we have to rely on brave individuals like Mr Swords and our host here to provide some focus and thrust to our fight.

I think that part of the problem is that the "activists" are otherwise unemployed, and have the time and energy to sit around schemeing in persuit of their agenda.

Apr 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

More power to you Pat Swords. I would have tossed in the sponge long ago and just sat around grumbling.

Seems to be a lot of a rag man snipping going on here.

Apr 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

GrantB

Snipping or sniping? Can't see much snipping...

Apr 15, 2013 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

RoyFOMR

Can you explain your comment please and sorry to be so dumb.

Apr 15, 2013 at 7:57 PM | Registered CommenterDung

If you'll indulge a long-time lurker on this blog...

Battles seem to be opening up on a number of fronts: the science, energy policy, the legality of the policy-making approach, etc.

However, the current effort is largely reliant on the heroics of individuals and as Rick says above it is quite diffuse. This makes it easy for the MSM to label skeptics as a handful of cranks. I'm with Geoff Chambers here; a formal association would have more credibility.

The GWPF plays an important role here but there is arguably some benefit in having another organisation that a) has a broader remit than just policy, and b) is membership-based allowing for mass expression of support and also as a source of fund-raising.

Such an organisation (perhaps a charity of some sort?) could be seen as another part of civil society, and seek to be given a seat at the same table as Greenpeace and FotE when policy decisions are being made. As Pat says, engagement is critical otherwise the Green movement will continue to set the agenda.

There has to be a battle for public opinion, which is key to influencing the political classes. At present, being green with a small "g" is a no-cost option for politicians allowing them to indulge in moral posturing; it's a vote-winner at best and neutral at worst. The politicians won't start jumping ship until this issue becomes a potential vote-loser.

A formal organisation would seem to be the best way of achieving this; able to build relationships with editors in the MSM, providing them with press releases to give them easy stories. It could provide journalists with soundbites to provide a counter to the Green viewpoint.

Clearly, getting such an organisation off the ground would not be easy, but if there's a will there's a way.

Apr 15, 2013 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Brady

“It’s not their fault if we can’t organise ourselves out of a paper bag (or a blog thread). A simple association of sceptics would have the right to be heard alongside the RSPB or WWF or whatever. It would also help us to hone our arguments.”

Geoff, I agree that we should submit to the EU DG Clima consultation. We can do this as individual EU citizens, but we’d have more impact if we did so as a group.

You’ve raised the issue of us getting organised before in the BH Discussions http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2074054 . The green nightmare isn’t going to implode by itself even, I suspect, if ‘hell does freeze over’. We sceptics do need to get organised.

Hilary Ostrov, Philip Bratby and others more-or-less support your idea of a simple association of sceptics. John Brady (Comment 43 Apr 15, 2013 at 10:11 PM ) suggests we aim for charitable status and get into a position to field people to speak, release press releases etc. This would be great but we should start with more do-able, practical aims. Commenting on the DG Clima’s proposals would be a simple, practical start.

Some other commentators suggested that it would be difficult for us to work together, because we’re used to individually commenting and blogging. It maybe true that we’ll find it difficult to agree on all aspects of a position, but I’d be surprised if we could not agree on a core set of facts and propositions. Rather than immediately developing our own website and organisation, let’s start by working together on our submission. The process will, as you say, help us hone our ideas. What would be good is if Andrew would allow us to ‘base’ ourselves on his website. He has status, and impact. Or maybe that’s assuming too much, and we do need to set up our own Website. Not sure.

The fact that DG Clima will probably ignore us doesn’t matter. We can make our position public (via BH?). We should treat this as the start of us getting more organised.

I wrote to GWPF a while ago to ask that they consider training days, and briefings for sceptics so that we can take up arguments locally in our communities. But, as John Brady says, GWPF is more of a policy thinktank, and isn’t set up, or interested in, being activist.

I am willing to work with Geoff and any other people on a response to DG Clima, and in the process try and hone an agreed sceptic’s position. I don’t have tons of time, but I am interested in being part of the group.

Commenting as individuals is good stuff, and necessary. But we need to think, and plan for the long-haul. And we need (somehow) to stay chipper, despite the decadent madness which we face. Creating and working together, as a dissenting group we will, over time, generate more impact. And this will help, in the process, keep us sane, in what’s become a mad, mad world.

Apr 16, 2013 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Piney

Mark, that sounds like a sensible approach. As you say, it should be possible to agree on a core set of propositions. In the absence of such a "declaration", it is possible for other people to project all sorts of beliefs onto sceptics, as noted on the recent Grantham thread.

I would also be happy to get involved in a response to DG Clima. I don't have the technical background of many of the contributors to this blog, but I would be happy to contribute in any way that I can. I'd be happy for the Bish to share my email address with other interested contributors.

Apr 17, 2013 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Brady

Dear Geoff Chambers, John Brady, Hilary Ostrov, Philip Bratby and others

Apologies for the months delay in getting back to you. I'd thought the idea of commenting to DG Clima had died. Maybe it has but, just in case it hasn't, my email is markpiney@hotmail.co.uk
It would be good to work together, and someday, to meet up!
Best wishes

Mark Piney

May 22, 2013 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Piney

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