1.1. Climate change and energy policies lack cohesion, says Oxfam report
6 October 2008, Guardian.co.uk
New energy and climate change secretary faces calls to unify government approach to environmental problems.
Ed Miliband will be greeted today on his first full day of work as the new secretary of state for energy and climate change with a 100-page Oxfam report showing how disjointed the government has become in tackling these two most pressing environmental problems.
The Oxfam Forecast report highlights how the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBRR) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have been contradictory in their policies.
It likens the different interests of companies, government departments and public attitudes as a "gathering storm", which must be resolved if UK climate policy is to secure a low-carbon future.
"Too often it has been a case of the left hand having no idea what the right hand is up to, and this [new department] must now bring a much-needed cohesiveness to government policies. With global climate and energy security at stake, the government must now demonstrate powerful leadership," said Barbara Stocking, head of Oxfam.
The report also urges companies like E.ON and Shell to reconsider their plans in light of climate change. "Strong decisions in boardrooms and Whitehall must be made over the next few months to ensure that we meet the challenges of climate change and begin to give the people we work with the chance for a better flood and famine free future."
"If E.ON is allowed to build the UK’s first coal plant in 34 years, annual CO2 emissions from the Kingsnorth plant will be 7m tonnes — more than the combined output of 30 developing countries. A decision … to build Kingsnorth will open the way for a new coal era and jeopardise future UK emissions targets," it says.
The UK’s independent climate change committee is expected to recommend this week that the government sets a binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 .
Shell plans to treble its investment by 2015 in unconventional oil sources such as those from Canada’s oil sands, which are three times more polluting to produce.
"Going ahead with these plans would send a strong message to other countries that new dirty fossil fuels are acceptable, which would derail attempts to combat global warming at an international level — the consequences of which would be felt most by the poorest people on the planet," the report says.
1.2. EU committee approves climate change bill
7 October, AP
A committee of EU lawmakers approved an ambitious climate change plan Tuesday, resisting heavy pressure from lobbyists who sought to water down the bill because of the financial crisis.
The European Parliament and each of the 27 EU nations has to approve the bill before it becomes law.
At issue is how the bloc will widen a cap-and-trade emissions program and encourage the use of technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide from coal power plants.
The committee voted to offer €10 billion ($13.6 billion) in credits to fund carbon capture projects and recommended fines of €100 ($136) per ton of carbon dioxide reductions be levied against those countries that fail to adhere to the emissions cuts.
EU lawmakers and governments, however, are facing increased pressure from industry and business owners to water down emissions targets amid the current financial crisis gripping Europe and slowing economic growth. Businesses have been warned the EU plan will cost billions to implement.
The approved bill will form the basis of future negotiations between EU governments and the EU assembly on cutting 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the bloc by 2020.
France, which holds the EU presidency, wants to get the bill approved before the end of the year.
The EU’s cap-and-trade program could impose €50 billion ($69 billion) a year in fees on major polluters such as coal-burning electricity generators, steel makers and cement producers.
They would have to buy permits to emit carbon dioxide — and could sell those they don’t use if they release less CO2. The total cost is unclear, because there has been no decision yet on how many permits will need to be purchased. Most existing permits are given away by EU governments.
Businesses claim the extra licensing costs could drive them out of Europe.
1.3. EU’s climate package ‘in crisis’
6 October 2008, BBC NEWS
The EU’s attempts to lead the world to a new deal on climate change will crumble unless its current policy crisis is resolved, a study has warned.
As economic turmoil continues, there are widespread fears about the effects of the EU’s climate package.
A group of states led by Poland has assembled a blocking minority to protect their industries from having to buy permits to pollute.
Poland, which relies on coal for more than 90% of its electricity, says the scheme will reduce the nation’s energy independence and put up prices.
But a report from policy network Climate Strategies warns that if the group succeeds, the EU will lose its most powerful weapon in the fight for a new climate treaty.
Climate Strategies says that the existence of carbon pricing in the EU puts up electricity prices anyway – so it’s important that polluters all pay into a fund that could be used to cushion the poor from the price rises.
The report has been published at the same time as influential economist Sir Nicholas Stern warned that it would be a serious mistake to water down climate policy.
In an interview with the BBC’s Today programme, Sir Nicholas compared the current credit crunch with climate change:
"One thing that we must have learnt from this story of the very serious financial problems facing the world is you have to look ahead and think about the consequences of your actions."
He added that the current crisis had been in the making for the past 10-15 years.
"If we had thought carefully over the interim period, we could have avoided this.
"We have to treat climate change in the same way. If we leave this for 15-20 years, we will be in very difficult circumstances."
Instead of changing the rules of carbon trading, which were an essential part of the EU climate scheme, Professor Stern said other European nations had to help Poland and its allies with their predicament.
The bid from the Polish-led group is one of several attempts to dilute the EU’s climate policy.
The UK is trying to remove aviation from the bloc’s target on renewable fuels.
Elsewhere, Italy and Germany are both warning that forcing their industries to buy pollution permits will damage competitiveness. At the moment, heavy polluting sectors are given the permits free of charge.
But Climate Strategies argue that giving some industries a "free ride" in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme will harm the wider economy.
"Free allowance allocation creates distortions for the carbon price signal and reduces the efforts of some sectors to reduce emissions which in turn increases the costs for the remaining economy," the network said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the European Parliament will vote on the climate package.
1.4. EU countries may use economic crisis to ditch climate change commitments
9 October 2008, Guardian.co.uk
Papers seen by the Guardian suggest the EU council will water down measures to tackle global warming
Leaders of EU countries plan to use the global financial crisis as an excuse to renege on climate change commitments, according to sources close to energy negotiations in Brussels.
Papers seen by the Guardian suggest the EU council, which meets next week, propose dropping the previous commitment to an automatic increase in emissions cuts if the world gets a major climate change agreement next year. It also intends to allow countries to avoid having to cut their own emissions by letting them purchase a large proportion of reductions from overseas.
The current EU target of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020 will automatically increase to 30% if a global deal is signed. But the papers show that the EU is seeking a completely new legislative process if the EU target is to go over 20%. This effectively shelves the move to 30% and would take many years to complete.
The commission justifies its proposals by saying that EU countries paying for emissions cuts would transfer up to €42bn (£33bn) to developing and other countries from 2008-2020.
It also wants a change in the auctioning of pollution allowances for power companies, which could lead to windfall profits estimated at up to €15bn.
Last night environmental groups said the moves could allow countries such as Britain to build a new generation of coal power stations without fear of exceeding their legally binding emission targets.
"By simply buying cheap projects in developing countries, the EU will avoid making the type of transformations needed in our domestic economy needed to avoid dangerous climate change," said Tom Picken, head of international climate at Friends of the Earth.
"We are on the verge of losing an ambitious climate package. It sends the wrong signal to developing countries — it appears that developed countries are not willing to adopt domestic emission reduction targets," said a WWF spokeswoman.
The moves come as energy ministers prepare to meet in Luxembourg on Friday in advance of the heads of state meeting next week, where the climate change and energy package of measures will be addressed. New British climate change and energy secretary, Ed Miliband, will attend.
Last week, it emerged that Poland, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria had opposed the whole package. In separate developments Britain, Italy and others were accused of trying to water down commitments for renewable energy.
News of the European political leaders’ moves comes as senior business figures and government advisers are urging politicians not to use the current financial crisis to abandon crucial investment in clean energy and efficiency to tackle climate change, cut costs and improve security.
On Thursday, Lord Browne of Madingley, the former chief executive of BP, warned "none of what’s happened — however dramatic or distressing — detracts from what remains our most pressing energy challenge: combating climate change."
Browne, now president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, called for a big political investment in new energy technology to match the US New Deal that rebuilt economies after the second world war. "What is called for is nothing less than a new generation of political leadership — leadership that transcends the day-to-day tussle of electoral politics and short-term economic cycles," he said.
Miliband insisted the UK was negotiating the best deal possible. He added: "Now is not the time to row back on our ambitions in tackling climate change. Cutting the costs of energy is good for people as it keeps down their fuel bills and it’s good for the planet as it reduces dangerous climate change.
"The current economic difficulties make these issues more important, not less. EU ministers have rightly signed up to achieve 20% of energy coming from renewable energy sources by 2020 and it is important we show that we are committed to that target."
1.5. EU Parliament falls short of improving EU’s answer to climate
7 October 2008, CAN, Greenpeace, WWF, FOEE
MEPs voting in the European Parliament’s environment committee today have confirmed the European Commission’s proposed answer to climate change, but have lacked the ambition to go further, said Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe), Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth Europe (FoE Europe).
The committee voted this morning on a review of the emissions trading scheme and ‘effort sharing’ (which allocates each country its share of emission reductions in sectors not covered by the carbon market). The climate package hot potato will now be handed to EU environment ministers, who will be under pressure to reach a stronger agreement by the end of 2008.
Overall emission reduction targets Tomas Wyns, CAN Europe’s ETS senior policy officer, said: “The Parliament resisted attempts to block the move from a 20% to a 30% emission reduction by 2020 in the event of an international agreement. Keeping the 30% target alive sends an encouraging signal to our international partners in the run-up to Poznan and Copenhagen. All eyes now are on Europe’s environment ministers. The ball is now in their court. Will they show the climate commitment needed by developed countries to make an international deal possible by 2009?”
More subsidies to coal Joris den Blanken, Greenpeace EU climate and energy director, said: “MEPs have supported a half-hearted response to the challenge of climate change.”The Parliament voted to give CO2 credits worth €10 billion to carbon capture projects. “We won’t put the coal age behind us if we give carbon capture and storage a blank cheque. Carbon capture is an expensive gamble that gives coal a lifeline when what we should be doing is phasing out fossil fuels, switching to renewables and improving efficiency,” said den Blanken.
The environment committee also signaled they would be willing to accept the inflow of forest offset credits in the emissions trading scheme, contrary to the Commission’s recommendations. “If companies start trading in forest credits, the price of carbon could crash. Most importantly, the EU will have to assume responsibility for the negative impacts of questionable forest offset projects on human rights and biodiversity,”said den Blanken.
Shying away from domestic responsibilities Delia Villagrasa, senior advisor at WWF, said: "Science tells us that developed countries should reduce their emissions by 25-40%. But as a result of the environment committee vote, countries and industries can buy their way out of their required
emissions reductions by offsetting about a third of their effort, buying external credits, but without a guarantee that such offsets comply with solid environmental and social criteria.
Industries, except for the power sector, have been largely exempted from the polluter pays principle at the beginning, but move to full auctioning in 2020. It is clear that the EU is so far only partway down the road to being world leader against climate change."
Sonja Meister, climate campaigner at FoE Europe, said: “Despite crucial improvements today, Europe’s politicians continue to fail to make the overall commitments consistent with avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.”
The environment committee voted for strong measures including financial penalties to make countries meet their emission reduction targets. "Parliamentarians agreed that the EU needs a climate policy with teeth to make sure member states meet their targets year-on-year. The time is over when countries simply ignore their emission reduction targets. But unfortunately MEPs have shied away from showing real leadership by not asking countries to do enough in the first place.”
Helping developing countries Regarding help for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the committee voted for binding support from the EU and to earmark half the revenue raised from auctioning emissions permits to industry. “MEPs took a momentous step
forward by voting to make support for developing countries, including setting aside huge sums of money, a central piece of the package. With this commitment Europe would finally start to fulfil its historical obligations for having caused climate change.”
More at: http://www.climnet.org/081007%7E1.pdf
2.1. Member States endorse Commission proposals to reduce electricity consumption
26 September 2008, Europa
Today at the meeting of the Ecodesign Regulatory Committee EU Member States endorsed the European Commission’s proposals for two regulations aimed at reducing the electricity consumption in Europe. The first one targets office, industrial and street lighting products while the second affects the devices that convert digital TV signals to analogue signals, known as simple set-top boxes for televisions. "These measures are concrete contributions to reach the EU’s energy efficiency targets. Once they are in place they will significantly reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and foreign dependency in a cost effective manner", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The first measure targets lighting products typically used in street, office and industrial lighting: fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps and related ballasts and luminaires. The regulation will reduce by up to 15% the electricity consumption of this equipment in the EU, which is assumed to rise to 260 TWh per year by 2020 without legislation. The annual savings are equal to 38 TWh (roughly the annual electrictity consumption of Romania) and would lead to approximately 15 Mt CO2 emission reduction per year.
The second measure aims at reducing the energy consumption of simple set-top boxes which are used to convert digital broadcasting signals into analogue signals suitable for TV sets commonly used in EU households. Due to the ongoing transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in the EU, the sales and associated energy consumption of these devices will sky-rocket over the coming years. The power consumption limits laid out in the regulation will allow reduction from 14 TWh to 5 TWh by 2014 when the use of simple set-top boxes will peak. By 2020, when these devices disappear from the market as old TV sets are replaced by new ones, adapted to digital broadcasting, 47 TWh should be saved, this exceeds the annual electricity generation from nuclear power in Finland and Slovakia combined. The measure will also translate into concrete benefits for the consumer reducing the life-cycle cost of these devices by approximately 30%.
The regulations will now be scrutinised by the European Parliament. They are scheduled for formal adoption by the Commission in January 2009. Further Eco-design measures will follow in the coming months to cover more product groups such as lamps used in the domestic sector.
2.2. EU’s first enlightened move on energy efficiency
10 October 2008, WWF
Brussels, Belgium – Today EU Energy Ministers decided to ban incandescent light bulbs in Europe as of 2010. The move comes few days before the lift of anti-dumping duties on energy saving lamps imported from China, which takes effect on 18 October. Both decisions are a positive move towards energy savings within the EU, says WWF, the global conservation organisation.
WWF regrets, however, that the European Union has not committed yet to a binding target reducing primary energy consumption by 20% by 2020 to boost energy conservation in all sectors. Although it was discussed by the European Council in 2007, so far this objective is only applied by European countries on a voluntary basis.
The Council of Ministers must follow the European Parliament’s Environment Committee vote and use the opportunity to make the target a key piece of law, by including it in the Effort Sharing Directive which is part of EU climate and energy package.
“Keeping energy efficiency as an optional tool will not lead us towards the much needed 30% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020. Energy efficiency should be the cornerstone of any climate and energy strategy for the EU, therefore a target of 20% for primary energy savings must become mandatory in Europe,” says Mariangiola Fabbri, Energy Policy Officer at WWF.
Incandescent light bulbs consume 3 to 5 times more than efficient lights, such as integrated compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The replacement of worst-performing lamps with today’s best available technology will contribute to reduce domestic energy consumption for lighting by 60% in the EU, equivalent to some 30 million tons CO2 yearly savings, corresponding to almost half of 2006 GHG emissions of Sweden.
The ban of energy-intensive lamps will increase demand for more efficient products such as CFLs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The lift of anti-dumping duties on CFLs imported from China will make CFLs cheaper for European consumers.
“These decisions clearly show that promotion of energy efficiency brings benefits to the economy, the climate and consumers”, adds Mariangiola Fabbri. “The European Union should champion the phase-out of highly energy consuming products, facilitate access of energy saving products to the European market and help consumers make their choice responsibly, in line with the 2020 climate change targets.”
2.3. Banks set to finance disastrous Kashagan oil project
8 October 2008, FOEE
Financial backers behind the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan have been called upon today to take action to resolve the environmental and health problems caused by offshore exploration at the 13 billion barrel project, located 20km off the northern Caspian Sea coast.
In a letter to BNP Paribas, the leading financier of the project, and other private banks involved sixteen local and international environment organisations are demanding that the institutions ensure an adequate and transparent plan for mitigating the project’s environmental and social impacts is in place before any construction continues. The groups are also calling on the banks to make compliance with this plan a central and enforceable condition for any future financing of the Kashagan project, and to support for a complete independent scientific assessment of the social and environmental impacts of Kashagan’s development.
The organisations have raised concerns over environmental and public health dangers associated with Kashagan’s development and violations of international standards, including the Equator Principles, in the development of Kashagan’s offshore and onshore operations .
Galina Chernova, Director of the Atyrau based NGO "Center Globus" stated: "The Kashagan oil field has been under development since 2002 and operations are expected to begin at the end of 2011. At present, the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and associated Action Plans to comply with IFC Performance Standards and World Bank/IFC Pollution Prevention Abatement standards have not been disclosed by private financing institutions nor by the Agip KCO consortium, operating in the field. The EIA is not available in Kazakh, our national language and the only language that most of the communities directly impacted by the on shore facilities speak".
Paul de Clerck of Friends of the Earth Europe stated: "The Kashagan oil field is putting people and the planet at risk. Since offshore operations began in the Kashagan field ten years ago, local observers have registered alarming impacts on biodiversity. Species at risk include the endangered Caspian Seal and Beluga Sturgeon. In the event of an accident tens of thousands of people living in vicinity could be severely impacted and many people could be killed by toxic gas emissions. The banks should not finance the project as long as these problems are not solved."
Elena Gerebizza of Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBM) stated: "The credibility of private banks is at stake. They committed to implement the Equator Principles in the development of the Kashagan oil field and they should stick to their promise. Development operations should not continue until environmental problems caused by offshore exploration and construction around the Kashagan field are solved. The preservation of the Caspian Sea, the largest reserve of fresh water in Central Asia, and of the fragile Northern Caspian ecosystem are at risk due to private banks irresponsible behaviour".
Yann Louvel, Friends of the Earth France said that the BNP Paribas 2006 CSR report stated, "The recent conclusions reported by the IGECC in Paris reinforce BNP Paribas’ commitment to combating climate change". Developing Kashagan will lead to the consumption of about 513 million barrels of oil per year and to the production of 224 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The extraction of Kashagan oil will also cause emissions of ‘sour gas’ with one of the highest levels of H2S encountered in the offshore industry and to the production of about 110 kg of sulphur per tonne of extracted oil. Thus, financing Kashagan carries significant climate consequences and undermines the positive outcomes of any financing in the renewable energy sector.
More at: http://www.foeeurope.org/press/2008/Oct8_Banks_set_to_finance_disastrous_Kashagan_oil_project.html
2.4. EU energy Council: France put EU renewables leadership at risk
10 October 2008, Greenpeace
The French EU presidency is putting the future of renewable energy in Europe at risk, said Greenpeace following a meeting of European energy ministers in Luxembourg today.
“The French presidency is threatening to drop the ball on renewables. Over the past weeks, France have opened a Pandora’s box of measures that could weaken the EU’s 20% target and undermine the whole renewables EU directive,” said Frauke Thies, Greenpeace EU energy policy campaigner.
“It’s time that EU ministers got back on track and realised that weakening Europe’s ambitions on climate makes no economic or environmental sense,” said Thies.
EU ministers were unable to reach an agreement on a number of measures to weaken the renewables directive. One of the proposals under discussion was the idea of removing aviation from the total calculations for EU energy consumption. EU leaders have agreed on a 20% share of total energy use by 2020. Any exemption for a specific sector would dilute this commitment and could undermine strong national renewable energy targets.
Ministers also discussed a review of flexibility options on renewable energy targets between member states as early as 2014. Although the European Parliament and Council appear to be close to an agreement on flexibility, a possible review would in fact jeopardise national efforts to achieve renewable energy targets and would seriously undermine investor confidence.
“EU ministers have now got cold feet about the sustainability of biofuels and are using this uncertainty to question other aspects of the renewable energy directive. This smells of dirty opportunism and threatens the 20% renewable energy objective for no good reason”, said Thies.
3.1. France eyes CO2 opt-outs for industry
9 October 2008, Reuters.uk
The European Union’s French presidency sought on Thursday to defuse mounting opposition to EU climate goals by offering opt-outs for some industries and countries that fear economic damage, angering environmentalists.
Some eastern European states have assembled a blocking minority to carbon dioxide curbs they fear will stunt economic growth, while Germany is fighting hard to protect its industry from added costs.
But France recommended opt-outs for industries facing competition from unregulated overseas rivals and for some countries’ power sectors, prompting environmentalists to accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy of back-sliding.
The European Union has ambitious plans to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by a fifth by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, partly by making power generators and heavy industry pay for permits to pollute in its emissions trading scheme (ETS).
But some eastern European states have threatened to derail the proposal, saying it puts a costly burden on their highly polluting communist-era coal-fired power stations.
Heavy industries, such as steel, aluminum and chemicals have also raised opposition, saying they will lose out to rivals in neighboring regions that have less environmental regulation and therefore lower costs.
BusinessEurope, which represents 20 million European businesses, called in a letter to French ecology minister Jean-Louis Borloo on Wednesday for the most efficient factories to get all their permits to emit CO2 for free until a global deal has been reached.
France sought on Thursday to defuse industry’s opposition, preparing a draft paper — which is still under discussion — to present to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels next week.
"Sectors or sub sectors exposed to the highest risk, must be able to receive 100 percent of emission quotas for free," said the document seen by Reuters.
That would give sectors like steel an easier deal than proposed by EU lawmakers on Tuesday, when they said factories should start paying for 15 percent of the permits in 2013, increasing to 100 percent by 2020.
France has failed to match the ambitions of lawmakers, said Tomas Wyns of Climate Action Network Europe, a coalition of environmental groups such as Greenpeace.
"At the start of his presidency, Sarkozy presented himself as a climate leader — now he is prepared to dump effective climate policy for the sake of protecting some polluting industries," he added.
France also sought to ease the concerns of eastern European states that fear their economies will suffer from soaring electricity prices when power generators are forced to pay for all their CO2 permits from 2013. "Derogations limited in scale and time may be granted when specific situations linked notably to an insufficient integration into the European electricity market justify it," said the document.
France is keen to sign-off the climate legislation by the end of this year, but Poland has assembled a group of East European states backed by Greece that threatens to delay it into next year if their fears about power prices are not dealt with.
"We are working really hard to work this climate package into something that would not be a dramatic problem for the whole of our economy," Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told TVN 24 television.
The EU is hoping other nations will follow its lead by agreeing on an international deal, mindful of U.N. warnings that climate change will lead to more droughts, flooding and rising sea levels.
A Polish diplomatic source told Reuters the French concessions did not go far enough.
"This is just the beginning, we are not satisfied with the French Presidency’s draft conclusions of the summit," said the source.
4.1. Why carbon capture and storage won’t save the climate
6 October 2008, Greenpeace
Download document here: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/reports/why-carbon-capture-and-storage-will-not-save-the-climate
4.2. Power plant emission performance standard (EPS) for CO2
6 October 2008, Greenpeace
Download document here: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/reports/Power-Plant-Emission-Performance-Standard-(EPS)-for-CO2
5.1. European NGOs Discussing Sustainable Energy in Paris, France, October 13-15, 2008
Organised by INFORSE-Europe, CLER and Helio.
Date: October 13-15, 2008
Place: Montreuil – Paris, France
More at: http://www.inforse.org/europe/seminar08_France.htm
5.2. Stakeholder conference on post-2012 climate change agreement
The European Commission, DG Environment is organising a one-day stakeholder conference "Towards a comprehensive and ambitious post-2012 climate change agreement in Copenhagen" on 15 October 2008 in Brussels.
More at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/post_2012/reg.htm
5.3. The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznañ, Poland – COP 14
The 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 14) will be held in conjunction with the 4th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 4) in Poznañ, Poland, from 1 to 12 December 2008. The conference will also include the 29th sessions of the Convention’s two subsidiary bodies – SBSTA and SBI – as well as the 4th session of the AWG-LCA and the 2nd part of the 6th session of the AWG-KP.
More at: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_14/items/4481.php
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