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Polity: Who believes in climate change?

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 pm, December 29th, 2013 - 84 comments
Categories: climate change, International, Politics, science, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

polity_square_for_lynnRob Salmond over at Polity always finds some of the really interesting offshore political/social studies 

Cool-yet-depressing finding on why some people change their mind on climate change from one day to the next.

The skinny of this Roll Call article is:

  • Democrats generally believe in climate change;
  • Republicans generally don’t;
  • People-who-are-neither-Democrats-nor-Republicans are massively more likely to believe in climate change if today is hotter than yesterday.

This is a good time for some Mencken: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

84 comments on “Polity: Who believes in climate change? ”

  1. jaymam 1

    The article should be more precise. Almost everybody believes in climate change.
    Many people including me believe in anthropogenic climate change.
    Some people believe in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

    • McFlock 1.1

      actually, the salient point from the post is that disbelief in anthropogenic climate change (the chart label) appears to be a political commitment rather than a scientific issue.

      edit: and additionally, independents tend to change their opinions of geologic climate change based on immediate local experience.

      Meh – we’re only human

      • lprent 1.1.1

        It was the latter that was so predictable and so disturbing. That people make their minds up about climate (a process that operates over decades as its lowest level of resolution) based on the previous days weather…

        Arghhhhh… Conservatives you can understand. They try to live in a bubble of their own comforting creation myths – essentially “why I am entitled to ignore my responsibilities”… But that rising graph really just indicates how shallow the understanding of basic science is in the world.

        • Polish pride 1.1.1.1

          Or perhaps it is a lack of faith in science and the belief that like many other things it is not free from corruption and vested interests…

          • McFlock 1.1.1.1.1

            it doesn’t need to be perfect to be reasonably accurate.

          • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.1.2

            Science may not be perfect, but it’s the best we have for understanding a lot of what happens in the universe. Like all human endeavours, corruption and vested interests will play a part. What worries me about the climate debate is that the corrupt vested interests have managed to convince many people that the honest scientists are the corrupt ones, with the brave truthseekers being those like Monckton and de Freitas who speak on behalf of the energy industry. It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. It’s the stuff of satire.

    • lprent 1.2

      Many people including me believe in anthropogenic climate change.
      Some people believe in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

      I suspect that distinction simply depends on what you (and others) consider is the time period for empathy and compassion. The scale and effects of our anthropogenic climate change will continue for thousands of years and will make maintaining a technological based civilisation far more difficult to maintain over the medium (this century) to long term (the next thousand years). However many people who like yourself don’t think this is a catastrophe appear to consider that the grand-kids and subsequent generations simply don’t matter.

      Basically the chart at the top is right. Conservatives seem to have issues with caring about anyone apart from themselves. They don’t consider that it is catastrophic to take their personal pleasure in driving SUVs out on their grandkids, any more than they care about the current crop of homeless that they are raising. They will grasp at any sanctimonious crackpot theory regardless how strange to try to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their actions.

      Progressives look to the future and do care about kids and their kids and on into the future.

      I seem to remember that you made assertions once about your training in nuclear physics. Have a look at the ticking display on the right at the amount of heat already retained and buffered in the water systems of this planet expressed as hiroshima bombs. Three billion of them since I started doing a earth science degree in 1979. Perhaps you should do some number crunching to look at what happens over the next century or so as just that pushes that ambient heat levels up. Look at its effects on agriculture in detail (rather than the simply thick “plants like CO2” so beloved of the selfish minority).

      • Polish pride 1.2.1

        You can have the change you want lprent, but it isn’t going to come under the current system. Not whilst we have the economy, the profit motive and planned obsolescence.

  2. Matthew Hooton 2

    The worst bit of this, I think, is that it is so often “independents” who decide elections (especially in NZ, less so in the US because of their very low turnouts) and yet this shows they have influenced by irrelevant things. Some very high proportion of people (Rob Salmond may know the number precisely) have been found in exit polls to have made up their mind in the polling booth. The way 2014 is shaping up, they may well decide who will be in NZ PM this time next year (mainly based on how many decide at the last minute to vote for NZ First or the Conservative Party).

    • lprent 2.1

      Or Mana or the how many of the vaguely Green voters (apart from me) will roll out of bed in time to vote this election.

      The undecided vote looks to me like it is going pretty big this year. They certainly aren’t likely to vote for either Act or United Future or even the Maori Party (aka the Iwi Corporate party) . Those have all now been discarded as repositories of protest votes in the way that McGillicuddy Serious Party or Social Credit were.

      Conservatives? 3% max and most of it coming from people who’d otherwise a) vote and b) would have voted right anyway. A rather meaningless distraction for the media to wet their underpants over..

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        And potentially marooning 3-4% of the party vote belonging to the right in a party where the vote will not count, presuming that they do not pick up an electorate seat. I hope they get 4.8% … 🙂

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          Unlikely. Offhand I can’t remember the nutters of the religious conservative right *ever* making it to 3%. Even in their good years when they haven’t convicted of been kiddie fiddling.

          I also can’t remember them ever getting an electorate seat except when they’ve disguised themselves as members of other parties. If National did a seat deal with them, then I think that most voters for National would hold their noses and vote Labour. They could stand a fiscal conservative party like Act. A religious conservative will be a few orders of magnitude harder sell.

          • mickysavage 2.1.1.1.1

            Possibly a pipe dream but in 1996 the Christian Coalition gained 4.33% of the party vote …

            http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_1996/pdf/1.1%20Summary%20of%20overall%20results.pdf

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Wow. Never remembered/realised that they got that high. But that was also the very first MMP election, they factions in the christian community had their first and probably only chance to bury the hatchet on outside targets.

              Also was the heyday of NZ First too as I remember it.

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.2

            Hmm. Could John Tamihere parachute in and stand as in independent in any electorate that National tried to gift to the Conservatives?

          • JK 2.1.1.1.3

            But lprent at 2.1.1.1 – you are forgetting NZ has had a huge influx of conservative immigrants, conservative in terms of their religions. That could well change the political climate. And you can bet the Nats are working hard behind the scenes to come up with a scenario which will make it okay for their people to vote for the crank, Craig.

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.3.1

              I’m travelling. But the numbers simply aren’t that large, and subject to fast second generations. Has happened many times before.

            • Steve Wrathall 2.1.1.1.3.2

              Craig’s beliefs are wacky, but somewhat less wacky than David Parker’s belief that Amazon will collect tax for NZ.

              • McFlock

                australian banks collect RWT on NZer’s accounts.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Seems like Steve Wrathall has forgotten about the power of sovereign governments.

                  Must be why the corporates are so keen on constraining sovereign nations with bullshit agreements like the TPPA.

          • Murray Olsen 2.1.1.1.4

            Those “good years” require a reference, lprent. Without hard evidence, I’ll continue to regard them as mythical.

    • geoff 2.2

      Some very high proportion of people (Rob Salmond may know the number precisely) have been found in exit polls to have made up their mind in the polling booth.

      Bread and circuses. I dearly hope the depoliticisation of the citizenry has reached a peak. There’s only so many iphones and flat screen teles you can be distracted with before you realise that you cant afford to pay the rent.

    • Corokia 2.3

      Note Hooton diverting comment away from the subject of climate change.

    • @Matthew: The numbers on that bounce around a bit, but I’ve seen findings of around 5% deciding actually in the booth itself, and another 5% or so deciding on the day but before they get their ballot paper.

  3. karol 3

    It’s a curious graph, considering that many democrats are actually pretty conservative politically.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      I think the difference is that at least the democrats tend to be towards the sane end of the political register … 🙂

      • Anne 3.1.1

        the democrats tend to be towards the sane end of the political register …

        and thus, despite their conservatism, have better cognitive abilities.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Smart well informed US politicians arent necessarily going to think beyond the next campaign fundraising cycle either. The rational thing for them to do might be to take as much as they can from the system while they can.

  4. Tracey 4

    Karol

    was thinking the same thing. I would be surprised if it could be transposed to nz.

    it does show how well disinformation works. I imagine those in the business of disinformation dissemination would be pleased.

    • karol 4.1

      There’s an interesting article on that, Tracey.

      It’s about how the big funders of the “denialists” have shifted from providing funds traceable to big oil, etc, to funneling it through relatively un-traceable trusts and fund accounts.

      Some research shows that the environmentalist groups have more funding than the “denialists”. But the environmental groups spend their money on developing solutions.

      That last point comes from here:

      the comprehensive nature of the climate countermovement. This is an extremely well-organized political movement that has a number of different components that are loosely coordinated but all act along the same lines. You have organizations that focus on development of ideas, such as think tanks, media outlets, advertising for public opinion, scholarly activities at universities.

      I think what’s important to understand is to see this movement in context with the larger conservative political movement in the United States. The climate change countermovement, as I call it, is really an add-on to the already-existing conservative movement in the United States.
      […]
      One is in the conservative movement itself, in that you see a lot of conservative foundations that had been funding the growth of the conservative movement all along now appear as funding the climate countermovement. You also can see dedicated industry foundations that come in to start funding the climate countermovement.

      So it’s kind of a combination of both industry and conservative philanthropies that are funding this process, and what they did was they borrowed a great deal of the strategy and tactics that came out of the tobacco industry’s efforts to prevent action on the health impacts of smoking.
      […]
      … It is no surprise that the funders of the climate countermovement organizations are the same funders that fund the overall conservative think tanks across the board. …

      The leading funders over that 2003-to-2010 time period have been, of course, the Koch Foundation — was a major player early on, not so much now — the Scaife Foundation and the Sierra Foundation.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Juan Cole’s an interesting bugger.

      • Murray Olsen 4.1.2

        On the funding comparison: it costs much more to actually do research than to sit in a think tank making up appealing lies. The responsible environmentalist groups spend a lot of time and effort on research and fact checking. A serious climate conference will have many participants and speakers, all of which means money must be spent. A denialist conference will be a circus show with someone like Monckton as the clown, which can be done fairly cheaply. On the other hand, there is also a lot of scaremongering on the internet, which probably plays into the hands of the denialists.

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    Questions like this annoy me as it reframes the extensive pollution on earth as a “belief” which may or may not be true.

    A better question is can continue at the present rate of pollution without there being severe consequences to our health and that of our planet, answer inevitably is no but since you don’t want to hear that lets just continue asking the original question.

    • karol 5.1

      The trouble is there’s a wealth of evidence about anthropogenic climate change. But still the arguments against it get a lot of support, and still there’s failure to act work towards solutions in a significant way. And this is because, people’s views on it are shaped more by politics, political affiliations and propaganda, than be the scientific evidence.

      So it’s important to highlight these processes of mis-information.

  6. BM 6

    Republicans believe climate change to be a vehicle to install socialist policy.

    Take the politics out of climate change and you’d probably get a lot more support for climate change within the right voting demographic.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Well yes – inevitably any real reduction in carbon burning is going to require a high degree of collective action. Reduced to their essentials there are only three ways to stop it:

      1. Make burning carbon illegal.

      2. Tax the hell out of it.

      3. Educate people not to.

      All three of these options are communist hell-hole anathemas to the right voting public – so of course they ignored the facts.

      And then of course there was the mass economic transformation that is the logical consequence of taking real action -that too demanded collective commitment and action on a global scale. Couldn’t have that either.

      • BM 6.1.1

        Bit of a stale mate then, shame really that both sides are so inflexible.

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.1

          Nah – it’s the facts that are inflexible.

          No amount of politics will alter the IR absorption spectrum of CO2.

          • BM 6.1.1.1.1

            The problem is you need to have both sides on board, unless you achieve that the whole climate change movement is dead in the water.

            Apart from disposing of everyone that doesn’t share a socialist view point, Greenpeace, the Greens, etc are going to have to come up with a plan of action that is acceptable to people at the other end of the political spectrum.

            This the real challenge for the climate change movement, everything else is secondary.

            • felix 6.1.1.1.1.1

              You fucking moron. All the possible plans of action are based on the facts, and your end of the spectrum simply refuses to accept the facts.

              There’s no compromise to be had there. There aren’t two equally viable competing sets of ideas to find a middle ground between.

              There are simply facts. And there are people who refuse to accept the facts.

              Guess what, fucko; the facts aren’t going to meet you halfway.

              • BM

                Give it up, you faggy little man.
                Your side has over cooked the bull shit no one believes anything the left says about climate change any more, the whole cause is completely fucked.

                HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, suck on that dickface, your dreams of some world wide socialist utopia are gooooneee and never to return.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.2

        Until energy industry money is taken out of US politics, and the commercial corporate media is leashed and counterbalanced, chances are that we’ll be going off the 4 deg C cliff at speed.

  7. Corokia 7

    HUMANITY (not just the greens) will have to come up with a plan if we want civilisation to continue past this century. The greed and power of those who profit from fossil fuel powered business as usual is over-riding common sense. The 6 major oil companies made a record $51.5 billion in the 2nd quarter of 2013. Dumb, greedy right wing bastards don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves and their profits. Everyone’s kids and grandkids go to hell in a handcart thanks to those who control the mainstream media in the Age of Stupid.

  8. tricledrown 8

    Bunkum Miasma
    Until idiots like you and MH
    Stop burying your heads in the sand nothing will be changed except the climate.
    You are tethered to the problem .So Mathew Hoodwinker is as shown above in Denial.

  9. captain hook 9

    its a tricky one all right
    the masses love throb of the petrol engine and the roar of the leaf blower and it looks as if the oil age is just going to continue on till it fucks everything up and the boobocracy have had their day come hell or highwater.

  10. Corokia 10

    The masses love what they are brainwashed to love by the MSM funded by the 1%. Consume, consume, consume with no consequences. You can’t advertise cigarettes on TV, but you can advertise a fossil fuel powered lifestyle. Token efforts at energy efficiency promos are so lame, some guy tells you to check your tyre pressure instead of car pooling, taking the bus.

  11. red blooded 11

    So, Democrats recognise the reality of climate change. I think the next question has to be, so what are they DOING about it? How important is this issue as a priority for Obama? And, yes, I know their system throws up barriers and stalemates policy that threatens embedded interests, but even making this a strong focus of public discourse would (maybe) help educate the ‘swingers’ and this would be a start.

    The parallel question applies here, too: What actual policies would a Labour/Green government agree on and institute? There’s a discussion line running today about the reasons people opt out of voting – we have to give them concrete reasons to opt IN and this is surely a big one, if the public discourse is framed around impact on today’s young, their children, grandchildren etc.

    I’d also be interested in an age-based breakdown of people’s thinking about climate issues. Maybe I should go and have a look for one…

  12. grumpy 12

    Hello????? There is a reason why a growing number of people this AGW is a crock.
    Here is the most current – and obvious…..
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/29/saving-the-antarctic-scientists-er-media-er-activists-er-tourists-trapped-by-sea-ice/

    • Corokia 12.1

      Ice in Antarctica -who’d have expected that? Duh! So the ever increasing amount of greenhouse gases haven’t melted the poles yet, thus the scientifically illiterate declare its a crock. Have you heard of of ocean acidification? The other serious consequence of burning fossil fuels.

      • Grumpy 12.1.1

        Read the link. Totally clear of ice when Mawson visited over 100 years ago. These guys are there looking at climate change in the Antarctic, easy, it’s getting a lot colder……
        Will they report it? Nah……..

    • lprent 12.2

      Don’t be a complete scientific dickhead all your life grumpy. You’re exactly like the morons who think that they can assess climate change by yesterdays weather. Think it though…

      It is a ship stuck in a higher concentration of sea ice and ice floes from glaciers right? A cold summer causes a slow breakup and less glacier floes. A warmer overall climate causes more ice being pushed out to sea – which means that where a ship was expecting clear seas, they get stuck. It isn’t like they got frozen in place like the start the start of last century. They got wedged in by more ice coming off the land than was expected.

      It is exactly like why a higher snowfall in the precipitation desert that is east Antarctica doesn’t indicate a *colder* climate. It indicates a wetter and warmer climate because normally water in the air never gets past the coastal area there. Now it is landing in the middle of the continent and carrying the heat displaced by freezing inland.

      Only a fuckwit would confuse a process of climate change (caused by global warming) with the movement of water in its various forms. Water is the main heat transfer material, and so when the climate is changing it starts moving around.

      And Watts in my opinion, has a grasp of climate science that reflects whoever pays him. Basically a fool who is good for stunts and useless at science. A stupid TV weatherman.

    • rich the other 12.3

      Grumpy ,
      Thank’s for the link ,brilliant , some of the comments are just hilarious .
      global warming is no more than a fairy tale being perpetuated for political and financial gain.

  13. BEATINGTHEBOKS 13

    An interesting explanation lprent, but it still has to be cold for the ice to remain. It is hard to believe some of the media hype around climate change when there are statistics around which do not show any rise in global temperature in nearly 20 years. Also Al gore in an inconvenient truth predicted all polar ice in the north would be gone by today. There is a lot of hype and in my opinion climate change scientists do not fully understand the system and they should admit it. Rarely do you hear of any consideration of negative feed back systems, or even possible benefits of climate change, its always news about catastrophies and disasters, and when you look at the numbers, for example of category 5 typhoons numbers they are stable (phillipines). Just some observations. Prepared to be wrong but will need evidence.

    • Murray Olsen 13.1

      Beatingthemeat, you didn’t require evidence to leap to the conclusions you have, so providing you with any would be a waste of time. But anyway, just for a laugh, let’s imagine an isolated system with a temperature of -30C. Any water would be ice. Now heat it by 10C. The ice remains. That is relevant to your first sentence.

      • BEATINGTHEBOKS 13.1.1

        Oi meataxe, bath tub experiments don’t explain climate change. You might think you can predict it but you cant, just admit it. You might know a few phds who agree with you but but there is significant ( and scientific) evidence that you/we don’t understand it.

        The United Nations climate bureaucracy’s latest global warming report was called “hilarious” by a leading scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Richard Lindzen said the UN’s report “has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence” because they continue to proclaim with ever greater certainty that mankind is causing global warming, despite their models continually being wrong.

        “Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean,” Lindzen said. “However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.”

        • Murray Olsen 13.1.1.1

          A bath tub experiment won’t explain climate change, but it was more than sufficient to show that your first line of argument was wrong. As for myself, I know I can’t predict the climate, but I also know how to evaluate the work of those in the area. You seem to know how to be brainwashed.

          For your next trick, please explain how we get 9 of the 10 hottest years measured in the last decade, but without any warming. Use a bathtub if it helps. Then, once you’ve failed at that, please find a reference for Al Gore predicting there would be no Arctic ice by today.

          As far as Lindzen goes, he’s come out with a lot of funny stuff, which is routinely debunked. No one takes him seriously except for you and his sponsors at Exxon Mobil. Here’s one example, which lead to a serious debate about whether he is an idiot or just tells porkies:

          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/01/11/205326/science-lindzen-debunked-again-positive-negative-feedbacks-clouds-tropics/#

          • BEATINGTHEBOKS 13.1.1.1.1

            Read that, interesting, but its not evidence, where is the climate change model that explains the pause in global warming? If it exists reveal it. Here is a link but you’ll probably say its just propaganda (as is most of the hype yours included). http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/u-n-calls-summit-on-global-warming/.

            Global warming issues have assumed desperate proportions, now highly politicised some especially those whose jobs have been created by it (journos, greenies, scientists) will go at it hammer and tongs and attempt to vilify any who disagree with them, both sides do this. And there’s more than one reputable scientist that has concerns with the GW issue.

            Personally I don’t think 20 or even 200 years is a lot of time when making a consideration of the planets global climate. I question the science that hitches the economy to an invisible commodity ( thin air). All I am saying is don’t be to sure of yourself. Scientists have a habit of doing that until they are proved wrong. It is not a one plus one equals two equation, more like a multiheaded hydra growing new heads each time one is cut off.

            Ps regional temperatures are not global temperatures, would be nice to know where you got your data ( don’t disbelieve you yet) , al gore.. in the movie An inconvenient truth, many people did believe him, this qualifies as propaganda, his voting record on enviromental issues is interesting however.

    • Lloyd 13.2

      Ready to bet that the north-west passage won’t be even easier next northern summer?

  14. Corokia 14

    1998 was the hottest year on record, so any line graph starting there must show a plateau or drop. 9 of the 10 hottest years measured have been in the last decade. The oceans are 30% more acidic than they were at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Only the stupid and the wilfully ignorant ignore actual observations such as those.

    • jaymam 14.1

      Please tell me where the sea is acidic, anywhere in the world. Acidic is defined as having a pH below 7.

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        Would you prefer ongoing decreases in pH?

        Semantics are all-important, obviously.

        • jaymam 14.1.1.1

          Accuracy is important. The sea is basic (or alkaline if you like). It has a pH of around 8, and varies slighly up and down. The sea is nowhere near acidic, and it never will be. Pure water has a pH of 7.

          • RedLogix 14.1.1.1.1

            Acidification being the process of becoming less alkaline.

            Otherwise what is your point?

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Also describes the increasing presence of free H+ radicals. Corokia’s comment on the oceans being “more acidic” now is spot on correct scientific terminology.

  15. Matthew 15

    Let me summarise climate change science

    If is gets warmer it’s climate change
    If it gets colder it’s climate change
    If the climate doesn;t change it’s climate change because the climate should always be changing
    If none of our models prove accurate who cares – it’s climate change

  16. tricledrown 16

    Mathew
    A leigtent smith argument.
    80% of Artic Ice has melted every glacier in the world is in retreat.
    Weather extremes becoming a regular occurance 8 of the hottest years since 1997.
    98% of all peer reviewed science says global warming is a fact.
    I suppose it was hard for people to believe the world wasn’t flat.
    That the sun revolved around the earth etc.
    You would think with Tories claiming to be better educated that they would be up to date with science.

    • Grumpy 16.1

      No links, obviously. You are in your own little dream world. 80% of Arctic ice melted???? Actually it’s within 2 standard deviations of it’s historic area. You could even find that on google. The world’s leading climate scientists testified to US senate that there is no link between climate change and Extreme weather. There is a growing consensus of scientists predicting a mini ice age due to slow down in the sun’s activity……your 98% is bullshit, the scientists abandoning AGW is turning into a mass exodus.
      That is the sort of crap that has destroyed AGW. There may be slight warming but who cares, there has been none for 17 years so it’s hardly as serious as you warmists make out.

  17. Corokia 17

    ‘30% more acidic than they were’. Do you usually have difficulties with comprehension? I didn’t say the ocean was acidic. Currently average ocean pH is 8.1 More CO2 in the atmosphere means more will be dissolved in the oceans. You could also say the oceans are becoming less alkaline if you like, but the term is ‘ocean acidification’ and if we burn all known fossil fuel reserves the ocean pH will decrease to levels not last seen since the Permian mass extinction. Sorry no links to references as am doing this on non-smart phone, but from memory K Caldiera (?) in Nature 2003 (?)

    • jaymam 17.1

      The term ‘ocean acidification’ is wrong and should not be used. But I’ll leave you lot to your absurd delusions. Watch out for Lloyd’s 60m sea level rise. How’s the Akademik Shokalskiy doing in the ice-free Antarctic and why are taxpayers paying for it?

  18. Lloyd 18

    Some right-wing American websites argue that restricting use of fuel or burning of coal to make electricity is an attack on the US economy and is therefore a traitorous act. They don’t seem to regard the loss of all US soil less than 60m above present sea level to be possible hence the act of burning fossil fuels that will eventually cause sea levels to rise 60m and destroy most US cities, most of Florida and a significant part of most coastal states cannot be seen as a direct attack on US sovereignty. Isn’t blindness useful!

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