Nuclear power – Tensions in the traffic light coalition over FDP demand: New tensions are emerging in the traffic light coalition over questions of energy policy. The FDP is thinking of reactivating nuclear power, but Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke rejects the request. She does not want to comment on every idea of the FDP parliamentary group, the Green politician said on Thursday before visiting the former Greifswald nuclear power plant on her summer trip: „It is the FDP’s own responsibility and decision whether it wants to bring such a backward-looking proposal to the Bundestag.“ Meanwhile, at its closed-door meeting in Dresden, the FDP parliamentary group discussed a motion aimed at halting the initiated dismantling of the last three reactors. In mid-April, the Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2 and Emsland plants were taken off the grid. FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr had questioned the nuclear phase-out before the closed meeting; this had been decided by the black-yellow coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP themselves in 2011 after the accident in Fukushima, Japan. „Nuclear power is over,“ Chancellor Scholz meanwhile makes clear. Under his direction, the dismantling of the still operational nuclear power plants in Germany will continue. faz.net , n-tv.de
Economists call for reduction of energy prices – Scholz asks for funding: Leading economists call on the government to do more for permanently lower energy prices. Chancellor Olaf ScholzChancellor avoids taking a stand. The origin of the money must be clarified, he says. In an interview, the SPD politician instead called for more discussion on where the money for such a subsidy should come from. It is easier to say who should be helped than to name the source of the money, Scholz said in an interview broadcast by Deutschlandfunk on Saturday. The Chancellor named three possibilities for financing: the remaining electricity price payers pay for the reduction of the electricity price for individual companies, the taxpayers bear the costs or new debts are taken on. „And I think it’s quite obvious that there are still very different views there, even in parliament,“ Scholz said. The President of the Ifo Institute, Clemens Fuest, on the other hand, writes according to an advance report in the newspaper „Welt am Sonntag“: „The determined expansion of renewable energies is right, but it is not enough. Germany should take a broader approach. This includes the re-entry into nuclear power, research into new energies such as fusion energy and domestic shale gas production“. handelsblatt.com
One billion lives
will be threatened on Earth if global warming reaches or exceeds two degrees Celsius by 2100. It will mainly be poorer people who will die as a result of emissions and the associated consequences of climate change. This is the conclusion of a research duo from the University of Western Ontario (Canada) and the University of Graz (Austria). golem.de
New EU climate chief: Climate targets will not be relaxed: The EU will not slacken its efforts to combat climate change, the European Commission’s new head of environmental policy said on Tuesday (29 August). However, communication with industry must be improved, he said. The European Union has faced opposition to environmental policies from some member states and groups of MEPs in recent months. Poland, for example, is suing Brussels over climate policy measures that Warsaw says would exacerbate social inequality. At the same time, MEPs from centre-right parties had launched a campaign to prevent a European law on renaturation. „We will not dilute our ambitions,“ Maroš Šefčovič, vice-president of the European Commission, said in a media interview in Brussels on Tuesday. „What I think is that we need to improve our communication and be able to respond faster, earlier and more accurately to some of the concerns that exist in some sectors.“ euractiv.de
Double counting – mixing climate protection and development aid: According to the Federal Development Ministry of Svenja Schulze (SPD), Germany paid 6.3 billion euros in climate aid money for the Global South last year. With this, the Republic would have kept a promise made by the then Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) at the G7 summit two years ago. There is reserved praise from the development policy scene. „It is of course very good if the German government keeps its promises,“ said Sabine Minninger, climate expert at the Protestant aid agency Brot für die Welt. But she would like some clarification: it also depends on exactly which funds the German government is referring to. What goes into climate financing is controversial. Especially the separation from other development aid, for which there are separate financial commitments, is complicated. There is a danger that climate projects will end up being counted twice – once as development aid and again as climate financing. taz.de
Study considers offshore wind areas in the North and Baltic Seas unsuitable: Whether LNG industry, shipping companies, navy, fishermen and sailors – conflicts of use at sea are pre-programmed. Offshore wind power is now also competing for the increasingly scarce space, so far mainly with conservationists. A study by two private institutes for the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) showed that almost 80,000 megawatts of wind power could be erected in the North and Baltic Seas, taking nature conservation into account. The NABU study considers all offshore areas currently planned in marine spatial planning in the Baltic Sea to be unsuitable. However, there is room for wind farms in the other areas of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The result of the analysis for the North Sea is similar. klimareporter.de
Coal phase-out enters the next phase: The last tender for the coal phase-out has been completed. In future, operators who have to shut down their power plants will no longer be compensated. The Federal Network Agency has closed the last tender for the coal phase-out. Six bids for power plants with a total capacity of a good 280 MW were accepted. The lowest bid was 45,000 euros per MW, the highest 85,200. The plants awarded the contracts may no longer burn coal from 2 March 2026. For further power plants with a total capacity of 262 MW, the Federal Network Agency orders a ban on coal firing without compensation. heise.de
Banks need more sustainability data: Banks need more and more precise information on sustainability aspects from their corporate clients. The banking association wants to standardise the necessary queries as much as possible. The data is needed, among other things, because banking supervision obliges all credit institutions to take into account the risks arising from climate change, for example, in their risk management. While the European Central Bank (ECB) focuses on climate and environmental risks, the German financial supervisory authority Bafin also considers social aspects and corporate governance issues. These three sustainability aspects, environment , social and corporate governance, are also referred to among experts as ESG risks. handelsblatt.com
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
A journey into the world of tomorrow
Looking into the future: Visionary journey into a climate-friendly and sustainable world At a time when the daily news often spreads hopelessness, we need a new perspective on tomorrow. The opulently illustrated book „Future Pictures 2045“ takes us on a fascinating journey into the future; a world in which the full potential of a progressive society has been realised – climate-friendly, sustainable and full of life. With over 40 elaborately simulated panoramic images and a fictional travel reportage from the year 2045, the book shows in an inspiring way what cities and places of social life in Germany, Switzerland and Austria could look like in the near future if the socio-ecological transformation succeeds. It presents green places of life in which energy production, transport and nutrition merge into a circular economy. The fictional journalist Liliana Morgentau guides readers through the changes and successes in 17 cities that have led to this more beautiful, greener and more liveable world in 2045. The richly detailed images show innovative approaches in the areas of mobility, education and culture, economy and work, climate and agriculture, and democracy. Approaches such as permaculture, sponge cities, superblocks, common good banks and responsible ownership – solutions that already exist today – are brought to life. The book is embedded in the context of the current upheavals in the fossil economic system and the efforts to become climate neutral by 2045. The ecosocial restructuring of our cities plays a central role in this. So far, a Germany-wide vision for a regenerative future is missing. The book fills a gap here, not least because the visions of the future were developed with the broad participation of local authorities and citizens. oekom.de
Federal states: Without industrial electricity prices, millions of jobs are at risk. zdf.de
German Weather Service: The summer was once again too warm. tagesschau.de
COP 28: Conference programme published. cop28.com
United Nations: Climate protection is a fundamental right of children. un.org
Google: Offers data for solar roofs. spiegel.de
SMA Solar: Examines building a new factory in the USA. handelsblatt.com
London: Extension of the environmental zone becomes an election issue. tagesschau.de
State subsidies make it possible: Heat pumps cheaper than gas heating in the long term, according to a study. spiegel.de
The seventeeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
Back from the summer break and everything the same
After six weeks of summer break, Christian Seelos and Karsten Wiedemann report back and have to admit: not much has changed. The SPD, the Greens and the FDP continue to argue about industrial electricity prices and recently also about nuclear energy. The peace of Meseberg apparently didn’t last long, the upcoming state elections send their regards. More on this in the new podcast episode, including more on a year without gas supplies from Russia. But is there really no more gas coming to Europe from there?
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Greenwashing at the Hamburg Cruise Days
by Daniel Kaiser
The Cruise Days with a heart for the climate? It would be nice. Waste separation on land and QR codes instead of brochures – that’s the plan. But fireworks are a must – here you go. A drone show is too expensive for the Cruise Days. That shows how serious the Cruise Days are about the environment. It’s just a fig leaf. A very small one. The main thing is to throw the napkin from the fish sandwich into the right bin. And next door, the floating city rocks along with its horrifying CO2 balance. This is greenwashing for the very, very poor. Shameful.
Yes, the ships are beautiful. Impressive. So many of them in our harbour? Overwhelming. Hamburg without ships? Unthinkable. And the whole thing in the blue-lit harbour. A dream. I know it is. But beauty alone is no longer enough today. We are in the process of putting everything, our entire lives, to the test. There is a Hamburg climate plan with ambitious goals. It is a problem that the city rolls out the red carpet for this industry so uncritically for a few beautiful pictures. At the Cruise Days, you only see the smallest part of the whole. Like an iceberg, most of it is invisible: the environmental pollution, the working conditions on the ships and that the cruise companies dropped their people like a hot potato in the Corona crisis. Experts say: the industry is moving. But very slowly and only after protests and critical demands from passengers. ndr.de
Deutschlandticket hardly leads to people giving up driving: The Deutschlandticket only leads to a limited number of people switching from car to public transport. Although the ticket, which is available for 49 euros, has increased public transport ticket subscriptions by ten percent since its introduction on 1 May this year, only one fifth of new subscribers have also reduced their car use at the same time. This is shown by data from surveys and a smartphone app of the research project Mobilität.Leben of the Technical University of Munich. heise.de
372 billion investment in a sustainable transport system: Whether rails, roads or bridges – Germany’s transport network is in poor condition. A study sees a need for investment worth billions. The financing is unclear. In a comprehensive study, the German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu) has examined the condition of Germany’s roads, bridges and railways and calculated that investments of around 372 billion euros are needed to maintain and expand the municipal road network. difu.de
Study: Price shock for e-cars is imminent – more discounts for internal combustion vehicles: The German transport turnaround is faltering at the IAA of all times. While the promotion of electric drives is decreasing, the manufacturers are increasingly pushing internal combustion vehicles onto the market with discounts. rdn.de
Oversupply of charging options: BDEW considers the current supply of public charging stations to be more than sufficient. tagesschau.de
Rail transport in Germany: Why electromobility, of all things, is making little progress on the railways. welt.de
Dispute over DB Cargo: „A sick system“. wiwo.de
More money from the state demanded: Germany’s ports are to play an important role in the energy transition. Bremen, for example, has plans to import hydrogen into Bremerhaven. But more money from the federal government is needed overall for port infrastructures, warns head of the Bremen government Andreas Bovenschulte. It is remarkable what financial resources are made available at national level in other countries for attractive port structures – be it Rotterdam or Antwerp, be it Gdansk or Gothenburg,“ the SPD politician said in his speech, according to a statement. „We would certainly be well advised to adapt the infrastructure of our ports in Germany with the same consistency and, if possible, at the same pace, also and especially at national level.“ wz.de
Shut down or continue to operate? The dispute over the gas grid: the more heat pumps and district heating pipelines there are, the fewer houses are directly connected to the gas grid. Technically, it would be possible to send green hydrogen through the pipes. But is the „clean gas“ in the boiler rooms still in demand at all, as soon as enough is available? Some experts therefore advise shutting down pipelines on a large scale. mdr.de
France – Billions invested in hydrogen: The French government wants to release subsidies of 4 billion euros for the development of low-CO2 hydrogen projects. However, the country’s national hydrogen strategy has not yet been updated. The EU wants to produce 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030 and import the same amount in addition. This is within the framework of the „REPowerEU“ plan, which was presented last year to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil energy. To achieve this goal, the European states are proposing different strategies, with France favouring domestic production and Germany relying more on imports. France has now officially presented its strategy. The French government announced last Monday that it will adopt a decree in the coming weeks to support the development of production capacities for low-CO2 hydrogen with an additional 4 billion euros. The investment represents part of the €9 billion in public funding announced at the end of 2020. euractiv.de
Rotterdam – the energy gateway to Europe: Germany needs more hydrogen than it can produce itself. The port of Rotterdam forged a plan seven years ago to become Europe’s most important hydrogen hub – with a direct pipeline connection to the Ruhr region, where German heavy industry is based. The port operators – the Dutch state and the city of Rotterdam – want to handle almost five million tonnes of hydrogen as early as 2030; that is almost half of all European imports that the EU Commission expects for that time. By 2050, this figure should be 20 million tonnes, which is roughly equivalent to the amount planned in the German energy transition scenarios as a substitute for natural gas, coal and oil. zeit.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
CO2 savings through heating law still unclear: The federal government currently has no conclusive estimates of the CO2 savings to be expected through the implementation of the amendment to the Building Energy Act (20/6875). This is stated in the answer of the federal government (20/8076) to a small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/7923) on „open questions on the draft of the Building Energy Act“. The government also states that it does not have any conclusive estimates on the question of how much lower the savings will be through the implementation on the basis of the formulation aids compared to an implementation of the Building Energy Act (GEG) on the basis of the original cabinet draft. The GEGG is intended to initiate the energy transition in the heating sector in order to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2045.
Land consumption by renewable energies: According to a report by the Federal Environment Agency, the total area taken up by ground-mounted photovoltaic systems at the end of 2021 was around 32,000 hectares. The Federal Government refers to this in its answer (20/8097) to a minor question (20/7849) on „Land consumption by so-called renewable energies.“ The Federal Government does not have any reliable figures on the question of how much open space has been taken up by the expansion of onshore wind energy in concrete and absolute terms, it continues. On the subject of compensation for the areas consumed by the expansion, the government states that with regard to the natural balance and the landscape, interventions are to be avoided as a matter of priority according to the intervention regulation under nature conservation law. If this is not possible, the impairments are to be compensated by means of compensation and replacement measures.
Less money for humanitarian aid and crisis prevention: The Federal Foreign Office is expected to spend 6.16 billion euros next year, around 1.32 billion euros less than in the current year (7.48 billion euros). This is according to Section 05 of the 2024 Federal Budget (20/7800), which will be debated for the first time by the Bundestag next Wednesday. Federal Minister Annalena Baerbock (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) can calculate with revenues of 67.82 million euros (2023: 162.52 million euros). Baerbock’s department should be able to spend three billion euros on securing peace and stability (2023: 4.39 billion euros). Of this, 707.09 million euros will be spent on services to the United Nations and in the international sphere (2023: 923.74 million euros). Larger cuts are also planned for humanitarian aid and crisis prevention, with the allocation shrinking from 3.33 billion euros to 2.2 billion euros, and the funds for humanitarian aid alone by around 978 million euros. For bilateral cooperation and the cultivation of foreign relations, the budget provides 155.5 million euros (2023: 156.03 million euros). One billion euros are to be allocated for the cultivation of cultural relations with foreign countries (2023: 1.07 billion euros). Expenditure for the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs is to be 50.73 million euros (2023: 53.73). The draft budget provides for a plus of around 112.8 million euros in the chapter „Federal Ministry“: 1.73 billion euros (2023: 1.62 billion euros) have been earmarked; among other things, planned contracts for IT services will have an impact here.
Chancellery to stop using oil for heating from 2024: The Federal Chancellery currently heats with the primary energy source heating oil, but is to be connected to the Berlin district heating network by September 2024. This was announced by the Federal Government in its answer (20/8071) to a minor question (20/7695) of the parliamentary group Die Linke. The answer also reveals that in the calendar year 2022, the photovoltaic systems of the Chancellery generated 197,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. Further renovation work is currently underway at the Chancellery. The extension currently being built will be „constructed according to the latest energy standards“ and corresponds to the level of an Energy Efficiency Building Bund 40 (EGB 40). „The heating energy for the operation of the extension building is to be obtained 100 per cent from renewable energy sources (including geothermal energy, photovoltaics and heat pumps),“ the answer continues. The Left Party had also asked about the heat supply of a number of federal ministries, which, according to the answer, are all heated via the district heating networks of the respective local suppliers Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG and Stadtwerke Bonn GmbH.
„The political debate on the Building Energy Act was characterised by anti-democratic and even openly anti-democratic narratives and enemy images, some of which were adopted from the extreme right-wing spectrum and thus made acceptable. This may have contributed to the AfD’s high poll numbers.“
Janine Patz, Research Institute for Social Cohesion, … Climate protection is urgently needed. But it is being defamed as an ideological project that is supposed to lead to a climate dictatorship. The Greens are portrayed as a „prohibitionist party“ that deliberately wants to harm „the people“ – and this narrative is not only applied to the party itself, but extended to all those who speak out for more climate and environmental protection. The law of a three-party coalition had become „Habeck’s heating hammer“ within a very short time. The law was supposed to establish the priority of renewable energies in the installation of new heating systems – but it was deliberately suggested to people that they would be forbidden to continue using their gas or oil heating systems from 2024. In this way, the fear was stoked that everyone would have to sit out in the cold from next year if they did not replace their old heating system with a new one in time and for a lot of money.
Gabon: Military in Gabon overthrow government and President Bongo. A few days after the disputed elections in Gabon, soldiers said they had deposed the government of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. The latter called for a protest in a video. A group of high-ranking military officers announced the „end of the current regime in order to „defend peace““ in a speech broadcast on the television station „Gabon 24“. The presidential and parliamentary elections in Gabon last weekend had not been credible and the results would be annulled. State institutions had been dissolved, including the government, the Senate, the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court. dw.com
Kenya: Kenya is in talks with the World Bank and the European Union (EU) to get financial support for the Hustler Fund, President Ruto’s flagship economic programme to help Kenyans access cheap credit. The Financial Inclusion Fund, as the programme is officially called, was launched late last year as part of the government’s efforts to overhaul Kenya’s credit system. In the East African country, purchases are usually made through digital loans, which carry annual interest rates of up to 100 % or more. The result is high indebtedness: an estimated 60 % of Kenyans are unable to repay their loans. The Hustler Fund, for which the government has allocated KsH 50 billion ($396 million) this year, offers instant loans at a much cheaper annual interest rate of 8%. african.business
Congo: Dead and injured after anti-UN protests in Congo. People in eastern Congo accuse the UN peacekeepers there of failing to protect them from violence. The government violently disperses protests. zeit.de
Colonial past in East Africa: The Federal Government is still in talks with the Tanzanian side to come to terms with the colonial past in the former colony of „German East Africa“. This is stated in the answer (20/8098) to a small question of the parliamentary group Die Linke (20/7779). Tanzania has not yet reacted conclusively to the repeated declaration of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s willingness to immediately return and offer restitution of the 202 skulls that could be attributed to Tanzania within the framework of the human remains from the former colony of „German East Africa“.
Libya: Government crisis after Israel contact. A meeting between Libya’s foreign minister and her Israeli counterpart causes outrage. The resignation of the head of government is demanded. The minister has fled abroad. The two countries have no diplomatic relations. taz.de
Niger: Thousands of supporters of the Nigerien rulers have protested against France’s military presence in the country shortly before the expiry of an ultimatum to expel the French ambassador. The demonstrators gathered near the airport in the capital Niamey on Sunday. This is adjacent to an air base of the Nigerien army, which also houses a French military camp. faz.net
Zimbabwe: The opposition party CCC does not want to recognise the results of the elections – it accuses President Mnangagwa of manipulation. Now the party is considering taking legal action. zeit.de
Nile riparians discuss controversial mega-dam: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia continue to search for a solution in the dispute over water distribution in Cairo. Egypt fears devastating consequences if the project is operated without regard to its needs. dw.com
Drinking straws with substances that are hazardous to health: Drinking straws made of plant-based materials are now replacing their earlier plastic counterparts. They are probably not more environmentally friendly, as researchers have found out. Since the European Union banned single-use plastic, alternative products have been used. But in fact, such alternative drinking straws can contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals, so-called perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). Belgian researchers found this out in an analysis that has now been published in the journal „Food Additives & Contaminants“. „Straws made from plant materials such as paper and bamboo are often advertised as more sustainable and environmentally friendly than those made from plastic,“ says Thimo Groffen, an environmental scientist at the University of Antwerp . „However, the presence of PFAS in these straws means that this is not necessarily true“. spiegel.de
Wild boars radioactively contaminated by decades-old nuclear weapons tests: During the Chernobyl reactor disaster, large quantities of radioactive substances were released into the atmosphere – and entered the soil via precipitation. In Central Europe, Austria and Bavaria were particularly affected by the contamination. The contamination of red deer decreased over time, but the levels in wild boar changed surprisingly slowly. To this day, wild boar meat still frequently exceeds caesium limits. The animals‘ way of life alone, digging in the soil for roots and fungi, could not explain the levels. However, as an international research team now reports in the journal „Environmental Science & Technology“, an important cause has so far been disregarded: According to the report, the high radioactive contamination of the animals is essentially due to nuclear weapons tests in the 1960s. The Standard has details
Chain reaction: Will the Baltic Sea soon be a dead sea? Global warming is taking its toll on the world’s oceans. But you don’t have to travel far to observe the effects of climate change. In Germany, a glance towards the Baltic Sea is enough. The temperature rise in the Baltic Sea is above the global average. Due to the very small openings across the Belts and Sunde in the western part of the Baltic Sea, only a little fresh water reaches the sea. The input of fertiliser, sewage sludge, car traffic and industrial wastewater change the water quality of the Baltic Sea and cause algae to grow, making the water turbid and depriving it of oxygen. As a result, seagrass beds where fish spawn do not have enough light to grow. In the past 100 years, two thirds of all seagrass beds in the Baltic Sea have disappeared. Environmental protection organisations also report something similar from the Mediterranean. utopia.de
Europe’s LNG imports: More liquefied gas from Russia than ever before. euronews.com
Sustainable travel: Is environmentally friendly business travel possible? ingenieur.de
Study on snow shortage risk: For half of Europe’s ski resorts it becomes critical. n-tv.de
Global climate strike
Whether in France, Italy or Myanmar, people around the world are seeing our livelihoods destroyed – the climate crisis is real. But instead of taking the necessary measures, politics and business go into denial mode and engage in unscrupulous greenwashing. Green fairy tales and climate talk instead of real emission reductions are the popular methods. There must be an end to talking green and acting fossil!
The UN has announced that the next 5 years will probably be the warmest since weather records began. We are in the middle of a climate crisis. That is why we need to get out of coal, oil and gas now, need a real change in transport and a departure at all levels. Never before has it been more important than this year for people around the world to stand up for climate protection and show that honest, swift action is urgently needed.
|Organiser:||Fridays for Future|
|Start:||15.09.2023 12:00 hrs|
Climate Adaptation Week
Together with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the Centre for Climate Adaptation (ZKA) has launched the Climate Adaptation Week.
The WdKA was launched with the aim of making good examples and pioneers in climate adaptation more visible to the general public. Actors who are still at the beginning can draw inspiration from this. The networking idea is also very important for the Climate Adaptation Week.
At the start of the nationwide „Climate Adaptation Week“ 2023 on 18 September, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, together with the Federal Environment Agency, will also begin the three-week online participation for citizens within the framework of the „Dialogue on Climate Adaptation“. Personal views and ideas for a liveable future in the face of climate change in Germany can be submitted until 8 October 2023.
|Organiser:||Climate Adaptation Centre (ZKA), Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)|
|Start:||18.09.2023 09:00 hrs|
|End:||22.09.2023 18:00 hrs|
AWI researchers find plastic bag on seabed in the Arctic
The Bremerhaven researchers found the bag at a depth of 4,200 metres. The fact that a bag lies so deep in this remote region is frightening, reports researcher Boetius. „We are all a bit sad that we have now seen the first plastic bag in this inaccessible region at a water depth of 4,200 metres,“ reports the head of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Antje Boetius, from her expedition. The marine biologist is travelling through the Arctic with the research vessel „Polarstern“, currently north of the 60th parallel. butenundbinnen.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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