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Net Zero – The UK’s (Miniscule) contribution to stopping global warming

May 3, 2019

By Paul Homewood



GWPF have already responded to the CCC’s latest recommendations, but I have a few detailed observations to add:


Historical emission trends


As with Claire Perry, the CCC make a big play about how falling emissions and a growing economy have gone hand in hand, as if connected.

It would however probably be more accurate to say that GDP growth of 75% since 1990 has been rather anaemic, equating to just 2% pa in compound terms.

When we look at emissions by sector, we get a truer picture.



Most of the emission cuts have come from the industry and power sectors:


A large chunk of the power sector savings occurred as a result of the dash for gas in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since the Climate Change Act, emissions have only fallen by 79 MtCO2e, about 10% of total emissions in 1990. This is the only tranche of savings which can legitimately be allocated to climate policy.

Emission cuts of 113 MtCO2e have also occurred in the industrial sector, largely due to the decline of UK manufacturing (for a whole host of reasons).

When looked at in this light, emission reductions since 1990 look distinctly less impressive.




According to the CCC, the costs of the net-zero target is expected to be between 1 and 2% of GDP in 2050:


However, this percentage is based on GDP of £3.9 trillion, more than double today’s figure, with annual growth of 2.2% assumed.

When we look at the actual numbers though, the costs are truly appalling, amounting to £50.8 billion a year by 2050:


That would equate to over £1800 per household.

The cost of increasing the ambition from an 80% cut in emissions to 100% would cost an extra £37.3bn. And all for a paltry reduction of 163 MtCO2, about 0.3% of global emissions.

For this reason, if no other, the net-zero target must be rejected.

The costs are, in any event, optimistic, assuming for instance big drops in the cost of electric cars. If they do accrue, drivers will switch over without compulsion. To offset such savings against all of the other costs is dishonest.



Power Sector

The CCC offer very little detail as to how our electricity will be generated in 2050, other than to say that demand will double.

However they do accept that the grid cannot rely on intermittent renewables alone, stating that they expect 148 TWh of electricity from gas CCS plants. This would equate to about a quarter of total generation:


Note as well the CCS needed for the production of hydrogen from gas reforming – more on this later.

As the CCC admit, CCS is crucial to their plan. Yet there is no evidence yet that it is a commercially viable, grid scale solution.

This continued need for gas rather puts the anti fracking protests into context.





The switch to low carbon heating for homes is likely to cost £15bn a year.

I suggest we can take with a large dose of salt the claim that this would be offset by savings elsewhere, for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

A cost of £15bn equates to about £500 per household, which as the CCC admit would be difficult to pass on in full to consumers.

They suggest that some of these costs, and those in other sectors, could be funded by the Exchequer. However, unless you’ve got a magic money tree, governments don’t have money, it comes from taxpayers.

Given that various public services cannot be properly funded now, it is nonsensical to suggest that government could find tens of billions every year to pay for its climate policies. One way or another, it is the public who will end up paying.

In any event, their estimate of £15bn, which they do not substantiate, looks to be far too low.

We already know that heat pumps currently add at least £1000 pa to household costs, when installation costs are included.

Direct electrical heating adds even more cost, given that electricity costs four times as much as natural gas per unit of energy.

The third option is using hydrogen to heat homes. The CCC assume that the cost of producing hydrogen, via steam reforming, will be £44/MWh in 2025. The current price of 46p/therm equates to £15/MWh. Given an average annual consumption of 15000 KWh, bills could therefore rise by £400 a year. But this increase would not cover the cost of upgrading distribution networks or household appliances to handle hydrogen.







Costs to industry would also be substantial, £5 to 10 bn. Again, it is suggested that the public purse could pay.





The targets are daunting in themselves. But the suggestion that all new car sales must be pure battery by 2030 will put huge pressure on the power grid even before then. (CCC make clear that they will push for 2030, rather than 2035).

New car and van sales average around 3 million a year. With conventional models banned from the market in 2030, manufacturers will stop production long before then, so EV sales will need to fill the gap.

There could therefore easily be at least 10 million EVs on the road by 2030. As the Telegraph’s Motoring Correspondent points out:

If you have just one million electric cars plugged into 50kW chargers that’s a demand for 50,000 mega watts (MW) of electricity.

Newer ultra-rapid chargers can be up to 150 KW, and even they can take an hour to recharge. Drivers who cannot charge up at home will not want to use public chargers when it is convenient for the grid. Will either the National Grid or local distribution networks be able to handle this sort of peak load in just a few years time?

Given the rapid phase out of petrol and diesel, will UK or EU car makers be able to switch to EVs in time? Or will manufacturers in the Far East take away business, based on their lower production costs?

It needs to be emphasised that only pure battery cars will be allowed, not hybrids. If the CCC’s proposals are accepted, development of the latter will stop immediately.

Last year pure battery registrations totalled only 15000, compared to 135000 hybrids. Total car sales were 2.3 million.




The report goes on to say :

a fifth of our agricultural land must shift to alternative uses that support emissions reduction: afforestation, biomass production and peatland restoration

Although they hope that the loss of land can be made up by greater efficiencies, it is highly likely that it will simply drive greater imports of food, which will inevitably add to global emissions.


Removing CO2


As there are certain emissions which cannot be entirely eliminated, the CCC suggests we resort to removing emissions from the atmosphere, at a huge cost of up to £20bn a year.





The CCC assume that innovation can bring down the cost of low carbon technologies before 2050.

But surely this is why we should not be burning our bridges now, by committing to such ludicrous targets so far in advance.

Decisions about what our energy policy looks like in 2050 should not be made by Gummer and his cronies now. They should be left to society decide nearer the time, when all of the facts are known, alternative technologies in place and impacts properly understood.

A classic example of this has been the rush to construct offshore wind farms with huge subsidies, rather than wait for the price to come down to more competitive levels.



In short

  • The cost of meeting a net-zero target will have risen to £50bn a year by 2050.
  • Large amounts of natural gas will still be needed, as back up for power and converting to hydrogen for heating.
  • The plan relies heavily on using CCS, which so far is unproven commercially
  • Domestic energy bills will rocket as natural gas is replaced by heat pumps or hydrogen (unless government picks up the tab)
  • A fifth of agricultural land will be lost
  • All new cars must be pure electric by 2030, requiring massive expansion of grid capacity and risking the collapse of the UK car industry. The CCC offer no explanation of how this can be achieved, nor any costing, nor demonstrate how drivers with no off road parking are supposed to recharge their cars without queuing for hours.

The idiotic proposal should be binned forthwith.

  1. hsabin permalink
    May 3, 2019 7:05 pm

    There is NO GLOBAL WARMING OR CLIMATE CHANGE other than that which Mother Nature does. I suggest you get THE POLITICALLY CORRECT GUIDE TO Climate Change BY MARC MARANO AND SEE THE FACTS AND STATISTICS HE CITES AND THE EXPERT HE QUOTES! The climate will ALWAYS CHANGE and the fools who believe AL GORE and others who are politically benefitting from their lies and faux news, deserved to be “gored!” The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
    $14.95by Marc Morano

  2. Stonyground permalink
    May 3, 2019 7:14 pm

    Regarding drilling for gas. I live in a village in East Yorkshire and there have been operations to drill and explore for gas close by. I don’t know whether fracking is involved or not. The mentally retarded nimbies in the village are displaying signs that say “Green fields not gas fields”. I am quite fascinated by the fact that so many levels of ignorance and stupidity can be expressed in only five words. Firstly it is a false dichotomy, there is nothing to prevent having both. Secondly a gas field is what is being looked for. If there is a gas field down there, saying “not gas fields” isn’t going to alter the fact that it is there. Thirdly these people all have gas heating for their houses and for their hot water. They actually think that they can have gas without drilling it out of the ground.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 3, 2019 7:55 pm

      StoneyG…may i suggest you show your Nimbies this pic I pinched from Bishop Hill. Get them to spot the 11 gas wells among the multiple wind-turbines.

      • hsabin permalink
        May 3, 2019 8:59 pm

        Wind turbines are almost as bad as golbal warming believers. They have their place but they cannot take the place of oil and gas, nuclear, etc. In Las Vegas Nevada, there are miles of them and they are usually always still – not spinning. They can’t put them in high wind place, in places where you cannot get the energy to the grid, or where it is almost impossible to repair them, or around animals as they are noisy, or in areas where high end homes prices are affected, etc. They have their problems too!

      • Wellers permalink
        May 4, 2019 9:46 am

        Harry – I was the guy who sent that photo to Andrew Montford at Bishop Hill around five years ago. It’s actually of the gas fields in northern Germany. I estimated that the tiny (conventional) gas wells were producing at least 100x more energy than the wind turbines, on average, without the wildlife death toll.

        Of course in the USA there are many more gas wells due to the shale gas revolution but one can hardly see them once they are running. The result can be seen in their CO2 emissions which are declining by a larger amount than any other country. See :

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 4, 2019 12:06 pm

        Thank you, Wellers. I’m pleased to have connected with you and I hope you don’t mind me using the pic you provided. I show all my friends and they are amazed by what it shows. I can now add to that the relative power generated.
        Thanks again.

  3. Harry Passfield permalink
    May 3, 2019 7:42 pm

    Paul, this has to be, without question, the most depressing post ever. Not because you wrote it but because those responsible for the strategy to which this is a fair response just do not understand their brief.

    For instance, it is known (if it was necessary) that gas and nuclear could lead the way to NZC but these people (that’s you, Perry!) are so wedded to dogma and AGW that they will not allow fracking and new nuclear. Which means WE know they are not serious.

    Then, there are the costs: they somehow seem to have neglected the loss of revenue from current duties that will no longer prevail when things like FF (oil etc) is phased out. How will the gov recover that? How much will that increase costs (it won’t be cost-neutral).

    But, the thing that gets right up my nose is the cavalier way they claim that CCS – and now, hydrogen – will be the magic bullet. I assume they have the likes of Joanna Haigh (Grantham Inst) advising them on this as she seems to think that both these technologies are near to being mature and do-able – and affordable. Hah!! She must have an awful lot of unicorns to feed in her ivory tower.

    As for cars: it will not happen in the time-frame they want. It will take tens of years to switch to EVs and while that is happening those with EVs will be peeved at those with ICE cars; and those with ICEs will be peeved at paying over the odds for their fuel. In the meantime, UK will resemble Cuba with loads of old clunkers kept alive until the last drop of fuel.

    So.bloody.depressing! Especially when it will not achieve a single thing, climate-wise. These people do not understand, you cannot buck (could be a typo!) the market.

    • JimW permalink
      May 3, 2019 9:27 pm

      Unfortunately there is no ‘market’ anymore. Since 2008 Central Banks have dominated the ‘market’. Capitalism has died, noone is allowed to fail.
      So if Governments will underwrite the losses on ‘green’ investments to absorb the global savings glut after QE( to infinity) of $90trillion or so, then the global elite will cheer and everyone else will shrug and ‘do their bit’ to save the planet.
      Its too late, the die is set. There is no one out there to stop it. Trump is getting in the way, but that is limited and time-expired.
      Its back to a feudal world.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      May 4, 2019 11:10 am

      A point that needs hammering home again and again and again, Harry. And possibly again.

      If our little green men were seriously serious about CO2 emissions and honestly and genuinely concerned that this trace gas was a serious threat to mankind and civilisation, they would be demonstrating on the streets in favour of nuclear power stations and exploiting shale gas as an interim measure.

      The fact that they are opposed to both those things exposes the lie. Both Edenhofer and Figueres have admitted in so many words that “combatting climate change” has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with wealth redistribution and world government courtesy of the UN.

      Nobody really cares whether CO2 is good or bad for the environment; they do care that it is the one constant by-product of powering the “engine” that has driven and continues to drive modern civilisation — cheap, reliable, abundant energy. That, put simply, is what the eco-activists are determined to put end to. All else is froth.

  4. John D. Warren permalink
    May 3, 2019 8:13 pm

    Incidentally, if all extra produced CO2 is removed from the UK atmosphere, the natural order of things is for gases to be equally spread throughout the world atmosphere, propelled by the natural winds produced by rotation of the earth. Unless we see Germany, India, China and USA actively reducing their CO2 production, the self flagellation of UK zealots to reduce less than 1% of the worlds extra CO2 is a complete waste of effort.

    • hsabin permalink
      May 3, 2019 8:27 pm

      Ignorance is bliss. We face the same thing here with the liberal idiots in the USA – they want to allow illegals who haven’t been vaccinated into the country and then scream because measles is once again rampant, TB is once again present and I just waiting for small pox to how its ugly head. Oil and Gas is being driven out of Colorado due to the ignorant and politically motivated and most stupid governor and state legislature. To all of you who posted above – C02 keeps plants alive and accoeding to Marc Marano’s expert on C02 -(The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change) it is at its lowest in the USA and everything here could benefit from it. Including the marijuana that is grown in my state! There are ignroant morons all over this world!

  5. Colin Brooks permalink
    May 3, 2019 8:39 pm


    When the Japanese launched their much trumpeted satellite to show atmospheric CO2, it showed that CO2 is not evenly distributed. The satellite showed that the well known industrial powerhouse of central Africa had the highest concentration of CO2 and unsurprisingly we did not hear anymore about it.

    • hsabin permalink
      May 3, 2019 8:42 pm

      Imagine that – no longer hearing about it. You guys ought to get together and write a book on this issue – from a layman’s point of view on how stupid Americans/Brits and others are being duped!

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 4, 2019 12:01 pm

        I guess the hat in your avatar is the ting you do your talking through.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 4, 2019 12:08 pm

        hsabin….I think I may have misunderstood your drift on a few of your comments. Apologies.

  6. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    May 3, 2019 10:19 pm

    The technologies that maintain current first-world wealth and living standards compared with say a century ago were, with few exceptions, the result of free choice not technocratic government planning and diktat.
    Sadly all this CC nonsense will not end well.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 3, 2019 11:17 pm

    If the BBC et al wasn’t constantly insisting/suggesting the climate was changing dangerously, would anyone actually notice or be concerned?

    If there is a climate emergency, what happens if we go to war with Russia or China? Saving the planet must surely take precedence over using fossil fuels to defend ourselves, so we must surrender without a fight?

    Have you noticed how declaring an emergency, along with the supposedly non-binding treaty (that will be used to justify lots of binding legislation), have become the tools to subvert democracy? The alarmists have long coveted China’s ability to ‘get things done’.

    • May 4, 2019 8:50 am

      You remind me of an important point. As a country we are too comfortably off. We can afford to squander money fighting phantoms because our other troubles are manageable. But as soon as a serious problem occurred, global warming would drop to the back of the queue – e.g. if there really was a military threat against us.

      By the same token, developing countries will never sign up to this madness, and their additional emissions will soon amount to an entirely new UK (at today’s emissions) springing up every single year, making our cuts look like chicken feed.

      It’s all pain and no gain, but maybe we think that a little pain is good for us or something.

      I would like the CCC to write down in degrees C what effect these mad schemes will have on global temps. They won’t.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 4, 2019 9:47 am

        The reason most countries ‘signed up’ to Paris was the promises of great wads of cash from all the ‘rich’ countries. Sign here for free cash, sure…….

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 4, 2019 12:16 am

    Very quick back of envelope:
    180 million tonnes of CO2 is approximately 3 million barrels a day as liquid, perhaps more as supercritical liquid. There would need to be an infrastructure as big as North Sea oil to pipe and bury it, and probably 200,000boe/d in energy to compress and pipe it. That’s once you’ve captured it. Long term injection of large volumes at high pressures will bring risks of major seismic events.

  9. May 4, 2019 6:32 am

    What a massive waste of other people’s money to change the global temperature by 0.00C. But that is the result of the world’s governments having been taken over by stupidity (or by the UN trying to impose global socialism).

    Just think how much good could be done if the climate change industry/scam didn’t exist.

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    May 4, 2019 10:20 am

    “Peatland restoration”

    Are they going to completely remove (including the massive concrete foundations and access roads) all the wind turbines currently destroying the environment of highland moors? Even if they do, the damage already done to these fragile ecosystems is probably too bad for them to recover.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      May 4, 2019 10:52 am

      My take from this was the simple question, “how the hell do you ‘restore’ peatland?” You might as well try to ‘restore’ coal seams or oil fields. It’s now more than 50 years since I first met Gummer. He was a pillock then and age has evidently not improved him!

      Do he and his cronies have even the foggiest idea what they are doing and is there no-one in government with the wit to see that — AGW or no AGW — following this trail is a sure route to national disaster. I can only be thankful I shan’t still be around to watch the dénoument!

      • Ian permalink
        May 4, 2019 12:23 pm

        “I can only be thankful I shan’t still be around to watch the dénoument.” Wrong approach Mike. I’ve told my MP that this is the best possible incentive to live to be 100, so I can witness their downfall. It’ll be the biggest “I told you so” ever.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 4, 2019 5:12 pm

        Ian: #metoo@100

  11. Vernon E permalink
    May 4, 2019 12:44 pm

    It is notable that whenever world emissions are mentioned by the MSM and even in a post above it is always the US, China and India – never a mention of Russia, which has to be one of the major emitters. This is telling me that the anti-western, anti-capitalist, communist movements are closely inter-twined with the climate lot. In fact, they have hi-jacked the climate ideology because like motherhood and apple pie nobody dares say anything bad about it!

  12. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 4, 2019 2:54 pm

    There is one undeniable fact. UK CO2 is 1.1 % of global emissions. Nothing that the horse fundament Gummer can do will make any difference

  13. Harry Passfield permalink
    May 4, 2019 9:13 pm

    FWIW I have written to Claire Perry via my MP the following:

    To: The Rt Hon Claire Perry, MP PC, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth

    Dear Minister,

    I take note that over the last few years you have championed the cause of Climate Change, or Man-made Global Warming (I quite lose track).

    You have remarked on (in a letter to me, no less) the fact that ‘the UK is a world leader in cutting emissions and that we have managed to cut them by 42% since 1990. That being the case, have you any evidence that that – near 50% – cut has had any effect on global temperatures, or that doubling that amount so that we achieve ‘net-zero carbon’ by 2035/2050 will make any other significant difference. The point being, if our effect, so far, on global temperatures is nothing then our doubling the cut in UK emissions will be double that: Nothing! (Please, you will only insult my intelligence by telling me that where we lead, others will follow: China? India? Do you really think they will follow our lead??)

    The UK is responsible for approximately 1 to 1.5% of global emissions of CO² (which is not, as the new meme is also trying to define, a pollutant), so reducing our emissions to ZERO (it won’t actually be zero, and you know that) will hardly make a dent in the so-called problem of climate change/global warming. It will, IMO, help to impoverish this country and make it a poor relation of those states – China, India, Russia – who will not bother to follow suit. They will continue to pump out their CO² emissions and laugh at our concerns. For instance, how do you really plan – in law – to close down UK car factories that don’t chose to make EVs? How do you propose to stop UK citizens from importing and running ICE cars? Will you make a law that those who do should be imprisoned for breaking your law? Furthermore, how will you control the use of older (more polluting) cars? Will you be ready to tolerate the UK as the new Cuba when it comes to maintaining old cars. You will have to pass some pretty draconian laws. Laws that will, in reality, ensure you are unelectable.

    My point is this: Notwithstanding that climate change is, at most, a natural effect (and the rest is still debatable – but you won’t debate it), there is nothing this country can do to mitigate that effect. I know you know it, and I know – I suspect – that you have ulterior motives for wanting the population to believe it to be a threat. That said, whatever you persist in wishing for will only end up with the UK being beggared and reduced to incredible debt, further enhanced by an extreme left-wing Labour/Green government (where. ironically, you could actually find a home!).

    My guess is that you will no doubt claim that renewable energy is a great opportunity to give full employment to the country. That is a chimera. You could as much claim that if 50% of the country was employed to dig a big hole and the other 50% was employed to fill it in, we would have full employment. But, just like renewables, they would not be truly productive jobs.

    I know the chances of you ever getting to read this are rare – it’s probably never going to cross your desk or get past your Green SpAds – but the satisfaction of knowing that my diary (20 years, so far) will reflect that I wrote this to you will suffice. When the dust settles from this incredible scam, my descendants will know who to blame for the fact that they have been reduced to penury. However, based on the fortunes of the previous holders of your office I doubt you will suffer. My descendants will know that as well.

    Yours, etc.

    • Bridget permalink
      May 8, 2019 1:24 pm

      What a great letter!!

  14. Bertie permalink
    May 4, 2019 10:10 pm

    Unfortunately, this will just disappear. Perhaps a concerted effort should be made to promulgate the views expressed here to the general public, who get no chance to hear them. I am not sure how this could be done, but the arguments expressed here, and the qualifications and scientific knowledge of Paul and other contributors is impressive enough to pique the interest of anyone without a closed mind, I would have thought.
    Of course, the activists will both ignore and decry any such intervention as they do that of the GWPF but, nonetheless a wider audience needs to be captured. The question is – how to achieve it?

  15. Charles Pickles permalink
    May 5, 2019 8:36 am

    But nobody has yet stated what people might do when their well-being is under such threat from the impact of UK’s policy makers, either parliamentary or civil servants under the Common Purpose umbrella.

  16. europeanonion permalink
    May 5, 2019 9:28 am

    So this is what a money-tree policy looks like. While some see Brexit as overturning the establishment we have a relatively small group of activists in several different spheres presenting unrelated opposition to pet projects doing that work for them. Looking at the media I draw the conclusion that the majority of those on the streets would not be Conservative voters under Tory rule. As we have the husk of Conservative Government in power the only conclusion that you can draw is that there are now many forms of government, militancy being the chief.

    It is as though politics is a new branch of merchandising and parties have to be continually selling themselves. This being the case, trying to be cuddly and represent all the isms (no matter what the polls said) you can only conclude that the government is subservient to a perpetually left-wing (or liberal) agenda which, according to the electorate at least, is not representative of the tenor of the electorate’s wishes. We might as well be in perpetual coalition.

    Thanks you Paul for your exhaustive research and your illustrative notes. What you represent is that of the snake eating its own tail. We can already see the much vaunted rise in the use of food banks a phenomenon that now has a trail back to the cost of domestic fuel. We see, perhaps, people balancing their domestic budgets in favour of being warm. The whole business of lower carbon, something heavily promoted by the EU (probably as a rejoinder to acid rain in Germany rather than any other significant natural happening) is favourable to those states that placed less reliance on energy sources requiring importation. It is easy to see how envy and equalisation, poor resources, have become a weapon against those blessed.

    We have far too much politics and not enough government. After the diesel car intervention at the behest of bought scientist and to popular acclaim can we really, hand on heart, believe that the state, as it currently manifests itself, is a reliable witness? Your figures presage a decline in industrial activity as we quietly price ourselves out of the market and yet we are still full bore on immigration. In a society riven by knife crime, the vaunted advance of ‘AI’ and the loss of manual work in favour of more cerebral candidacy, are we not drowning in susceptibility? Apart from diesel the early acceptance of free movement did more to upset our society than many a major conflagration. That was a totally unplanned exercise (in a country that already had an immigration source in the Commonwealth a fact little shared with our European allies) which heightened the promotion of racism and turned the housing market over-to the grim hands of developers, another governance by the un-elected. We can only hope that there is a return to planning and useful infrastructure projects especially ones that furnish ‘outside London’ with an equal opportunity to prosper and with that have access to the amenities which London owns, theatre, artefacts, reference works and markets.

  17. May 5, 2019 12:25 pm

    This site ( is ardently pushing to reduce CO2 emissions, having acknowledged that:

    “Historically, CO2 emissions have been primarily driven by increasing fuel consumption. This energy driver has been, and continues to be, a fundamental pillar of economic growth and poverty alleviation. As a result, we see in the visualization below that there is a strong correlation between per capita CO2 emissions and GDP per capita.”

    I never knew that!

    “This correlation is also present over time: Countries begin in the bottom-left of the chart at low CO2 and low GDP, and move upwards and to the right. Historically, where fossil fuels are the dominant form of energy, we therefore see increased CO2 emissions as an unintended consequence of development and economic prosperity.”

    I think they have it back to front somewhat, economic development and prosperity are a consequence of being able to use reliable, on demand energy from coal, oil and gas.

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