Adjusting for Publication Bias Reveals True Climate Sensitivity

 

One of my good friends (who I’ve unsuccessfully been prodding to join Ricochet) writes the underappreciated blog “Grok in Fullness” under the pseudonym Jubal Harshaw. Since he’s refused my brow-beatings, I’m forced to regurgitate his brilliance here.

His most recent post references two articles on climate science. The thesis of his article is that there is statistical bias in prestigious journals with regards to climate science (“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”). Both “Publication Bias in Measuring Climate Sensitivity” and the counter article “No evidence of publication bias in climate change science” actually conclude the same thing, titles notwithstanding. Please go there to see all the lovely details complete with “funnel plots” and intellectual rigor.

But the bias is not the most interesting part for me. The most interesting part is the climate sensitivity conclusion, on which both articles agree. You see, CO2 has a mathematical contribution to the greenhouse effect that amounts to about 1.0 C for every doubling of carbon. It’s logarithmic, which already mitigates the effect of continued burning of fossil fuels. What it all comes down to is what the secondary “forcing” is (mainly the feedback loop of extra water vapor, a powerful greenhouse gas, released into the atmosphere due to increased temperature). Climate alarmists would have you believe the effect of all the other factors is 3x to 6x. It turns out both the bias adjusted factor and the “complete” factor (including the results in obscure journals) came out to about 1.6x.

This, to me, is awesome. Not because it comports with anyone’s particular bias on what they want climate change to be, but because their agreement makes it sound like the truth. Now we might have a solid idea what a doubling of CO2 will cause. Each doubling will cause around a 1.6 C increase in world temperature.

I’m going to leave alone if this is a good thing or a bad thing and just let it sink in with everyone that this is probably the closest to a concrete answer as we’ve ever had to this question. It also comports with the observed increase of 0.8 C with the 46% increase (280 to 410 ppm) since the start of the industrial revolution (a factor of 1.6 climate sensitivity actually predicts a 0.88 C increase).

Now that there’s enough data to have a ballpark idea of climate sensitivity, all of the debate should be able to flow from this probable fact. Use this value early and often (allowing for experimental uncertainty). It’s been pretty obvious for some time that the effect of CO2 is not zero or negative, and it’s also been obvious for some time that the effect isn’t an immediate catastrophe. This result is a good corroborator of common sense.

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  1. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick
    @MrNick

    Your friend makes some excellent points. The “funnel plots” are great but depend on inputs of course, he explains it really well.

    I also liked this from his April 14th blog “Nobody Is “Forced” To Live Under Capitalism”:

    “If we take “capitalism” to mean free markets and free association between consenting adults, then no dear, you aren’t being “forced” in any meaningful sense. Rather, you live in a world where basic human freedoms are respected and you don’t care for the shape that it takes. You dislike some of the features of this world, but reshaping it to meet your approval would require actual force. You perhaps don’t approve of some of the choices and decisions that other adults make. But that’s the flip-side of freedom: other people get to exercise it, too.”

    Too bad he won’t join, there must be one or two around here who, at a push, might agree with him….

    Thanks for the post. Though, if I may, I think the ‘No Evidence of Publication Bias’ link is off.

     

    • #1
  2. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Mike,

    I am glad this makes you feel good. It still isn’t enough for me. First, we have a fantastically complex causal sequence of dependencies any one of which could be false. The actual amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere at the start of the industrial revolution is fantastically less than it is now. I don’t think the earth has changed in size. We have had no overall reduction in CO2 recently as China, India, etc. are contributing much greater amounts than before. Yet, with the most recent much more accurate measurement techniques there was no change in global temperature over the last ~20 years. A desperate attempt was made to falsify the data hiding the actual raw data. Through FIA lawsuit the criminal fraud uncovered.

    Meanwhile, draconian restrictive laws are still in effect as if there was an actual threat. The current data available proves that there is no threat. That is why there is the desperate attempt to cover it up. I don’t think any theoretical increase in global temperature should be accepted without showing any empirical relationship between actual global CO2 released and actual global measured temperature.

    It is time to just say NO! to climate ideologues. The price everyone must pay for their personal obsessions is just too high.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
  3. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Mike H: It’s been pretty obvious for some time that the effect of CO2 is not zero or negative, and it’s also been obvious for some time that the effect isn’t an immediate catastrophe. This result is a good corroborator of common sense.

    Not able to argue the specifics, the 1.6 K per doubling of of CO2 sounds like a good rule of thumb.

    What gets me is the assumption that a warmer climate is worse than what we have today. As geologists and paleontologists know, when CO2 and temperatures were higher in the geologic past there was much more life on earth. Changing climate will certainly cause disruptions and displacements, but most of those will occur in the higher latitudes, which are already populated by the wealthier nations which are most able to cope.

    I am not for increasing CO2 consumption to get there, but I don’t think a little CO2 driven warming is anything to be worried about.

    • #3
  4. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I cannot endorse your friend’s blog because he doesn’t appear to have a Facebook page.

    It’s 2017. Ain’t nobody got time for RSS.

    ;-)

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
    I cannot endorse your friend’s blog because he doesn’t appear to have a Facebook page.

    It’s 2017. Ain’t nobody got time for RSS.

    ?

    Some of us are in a Fakebook free zone.  But he doesn’t provide for one to sign up for e-mail notifications, either, so that is a problem.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Something is wrong with the links to the articles in the OP. But one can get to the articles via the links in the GrokInFullness blogpost.

    • #6
  7. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    I fixed the links, thanks for letting me know.

    • #7
  8. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick
    @MrNick

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    What gets me is the assumption that a warmer climate is worse than what we have today. As geologists and paleontologists know, when CO2 and temperatures were higher in the geologic past there was much more life on earth. Changing climate will certainly cause disruptions and displacements, but most of those will occur in the higher latitudes, which are already populated by the wealthier nations which are most able to cope.

    I wish I could remember where (Harvard Lunch Club podcast? One of the Mark Steyn shows? Pretty sure its on my Ipad but I left it at the office), but I heard a chap being interviewed who said the earth once had CO2 levels at 1000 ppm. Plant life adapts at that point to be super efficient. When I say chap he was a scientist, obviously not one of the 97% but still…

    As I can’t provide a link, here is the excellent Matt Ridley on Global Greening vs. Global Warming.

    • #8
  9. Mr Nick Member
    Mr Nick
    @MrNick

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    What gets me is the assumption that a warmer climate is worse than what we have today. As geologists and paleontologists know, when CO2 and temperatures were higher in the geologic past there was much more life on earth. Changing climate will certainly cause disruptions and displacements, but most of those will occur in the higher latitudes, which are already populated by the wealthier nations which are most able to cope.

    I wish I could remember where (Harvard Lunch Club podcast? One of the Mark Steyn shows? Pretty sure its on my Ipad but I left it at the office), but I heard a chap being interviewed who said the earth once had CO2 levels at 1000 ppm. Plant life adapts at that point to be super efficient. When I say chap he was a scientist, obviously not one of the 97% but still…

    As I can’t provide a link, here is the excellent Matt Ridley on Global Greening vs. Global Warming.

    … Dr Will Happer from Princeton. He was on the HLC podcast 103.

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    After reading the article and taking a quick look at some of the others, I’d say you should continue to browbeat your friend into joining Ricochet. He shouldn’t hide his light under the blogspot bushel basket.

    • #10
  11. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Thanks for bringing the blog (which is very interesting) and the post to my attention.   The papers he cites to seem to reinforce what we are actually seeing with recent temperature trends being at, or less than, the lower bound forecasts of all the climate models which assumed 100% positive feedback loops from the increase in CO2.

    • #11
  12. Joe P Member
    Joe P
    @JoeP

    I know the post says you’re going to leave it alone, but what does 1.6x forcing mean in practice? I mean “doubling of carbon makes it go up 1.6 C” sure whatever. But we’re not actually on track to be doubling carbon output, right?

    Just to clarify, I’m not an alamist at all. Even if I thought it was alarming, it wouldn’t justify the terrible policy solutions because they’re almost all self-evidently bad economics. I just want to be able to put this in context for someone who is alarmed, since explaining that warming isn’t going to be that big a deal (if it isn’t) is easier than explaining why cap and trade is dumb.

    • #12
  13. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Joe P (View Comment):
    I know the post says you’re going to leave it alone, but what does 1.6x forcing mean in practice? I mean “doubling of carbon makes it go up 1.6 C” sure whatever. But we’re not actually on track to be doubling carbon output, right?

    Do you mean doubling “output” or doubling concentration? I know in the last year we’ve added 2 ppm. I don’t know what the current trendline is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rate is decreasing with things like conversion to natural gas. If we extrapolate linearly we’re on track to double preindustrial levels in 75 years. HA! I’d say we’re not at very high risk of doubling unless consumption increases rapidly. Finishing our current doubling would increase temperature another 0.8 C.

    Just to clarify, I’m not an alarmist at all. Even if I thought it was alarming, it wouldn’t justify the terrible policy solutions because they’re almost all self-evidently bad economics. I just want to be able to put this in context for someone who is alarmed, since explaining that warming isn’t going to be that big a deal (if it isn’t) is easier than explaining why cap and trade is dumb.

    I agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if warming was a net positive for humans at this point (it’s much more likely you die from cold than hot weather, longer growing season, etc.).

    • #13
  14. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It’s all good to show their dishonesty but I actually don’t care what the global warming folks say or whether their models have any value.  What I do know as a fact is that the things they have encouraged our politicians to to do so far, cars for klunkers, ethanol, wind energy, subsidies to solar make matters worse in the direction they think is bad.   Most other things their type recommend make everything more expensive from zoning and building codes to the way they impose regulations and mandates.   More expensive almost always means more resource use or reduced real incomes, or both, which for us is no big deal but for the rest of the world and our own poor  is a very big deal.  I also know that we do not know if warmer is good or bad or if more CO2 is a net plus or not.  I’d guess good given what we know.  Another thing we can know with almost certainty is that adjustment and new technology production happens more as economies are more free of centralized burdens and controls.  The notion that we should give these people power to manage our economy on matters that can’t be known when in fact we know what they would do with that power would be insanely suicidal theoretically, practically and historically.  The whole thing is a run away lynching mob with freedom to be ripped out and strung up.  We’ve been intimidated and I  we need these statistical honesties to give us the courage to call them all fascist fraud that they are.

    • #14
  15. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    What gets me is the assumption that a warmer climate is worse than what we have today. As geologists and paleontologists know, when CO2 and temperatures were higher in the geologic past there was much more life on earth. Changing climate will certainly cause disruptions and displacements, but most of those will occur in the higher latitudes, which are already populated by the wealthier nations which are most able to cope.

    I wish I could remember where (Harvard Lunch Club podcast? One of the Mark Steyn shows? Pretty sure its on my Ipad but I left it at the office), but I heard a chap being interviewed who said the earth once had CO2 levels at 1000 ppm. Plant life adapts at that point to be super efficient. When I say chap he was a scientist, obviously not one of the 97% but still…

    As I can’t provide a link, here is the excellent Matt Ridley on Global Greening vs. Global Warming.

    … Dr Will Happer from Princeton. He was on the HLC podcast 103.

    I remember that one. I have met Dr. Happer and he is nice guy.

    • #15
  16. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Joe P (View Comment):Just to clarify, I’m not an alarmist at all. Even if I thought it was alarming, it wouldn’t justify the terrible policy solutions because they’re almost all self-evidently bad economics. I just want to be able to put this in context for someone who is alarmed, since explaining that warming isn’t going to be that big a deal (if it isn’t) is easier than explaining why cap and trade is dumb.

    I agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if warming was a net positive for humans at this point (it’s much more likely you die from cold than hot weather, longer growing season, etc.).

    I think that’s true but the other consideration is how much warming and over how long a time period.  If it really was 8 C over 30-50 years like some of the hysterics are claiming that would be a problem.  For that matter those who cite CO2 or temp levels millions of years ago as reasons we should not be concerned are simply not saying anything relevant to the discussion today.  Right now I’m not concerned because the actual data we have in recent decades diverges significantly from the catastrophic scenario.

    • #16
  17. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    What gets me is the assumption that a warmer climate is worse than what we have today. As geologists and paleontologists know, when CO2 and temperatures were higher in the geologic past there was much more life on earth. Changing climate will certainly cause disruptions and displacements, but most of those will occur in the higher latitudes, which are already populated by the wealthier nations which are most able to cope.

    I wish I could remember where (Harvard Lunch Club podcast? One of the Mark Steyn shows? Pretty sure its on my Ipad but I left it at the office), but I heard a chap being interviewed who said the earth once had CO2 levels at 1000 ppm. Plant life adapts at that point to be super efficient. When I say chap he was a scientist, obviously not one of the 97% but still…

    As I can’t provide a link, here is the excellent Matt Ridley on Global Greening vs. Global Warming.

    Thanks for the link. I have heard Ridley on this subject before, but this is a very succinct and complete essay.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Joe P (View Comment):
    just want to be able to put this in context for someone who is alarmed, since explaining that warming isn’t going to be that big a deal (if it isn’t) is easier than explaining why cap and trade is dumb.

    Suit yourself, but explaining why cap and trade is a corrupt practice is more fun,  IMO. People should not deprive themselves of this entertainment.

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Mike H (View Comment):
    I agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if warming was a net positive for humans at this point (it’s much more likely you die from cold than hot weather, longer growing season, etc.).

    Even worse than dying from bad weather is living under leftwing governance.

    • #19
  20. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    The basic premise remains as false.  There is no such thing as a global average temperature.  It may be convenient to create that fiction for certain limited purposes but it is not appropriate to use that fiction in such wide sweeping conclusions.

    Additionally, Data collection across the globe is spotty today and worse decades ago, let alone centuries or millennia ago. When we’re talking about tenths of a degree it is ludicrous to claim to have any secure conclusions.

    I can’t get a consistent temperature reading in one city in one hour, let alone across the globe for a year.  The idea is preposterous.

    • #20
  21. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The basic premise remains as false. There is no such thing as a global average temperature. It may be convenient to create that fiction for certain limited purposes but it is not appropriate to use that fiction in such wide sweeping conclusions.

    I’ve never really understood this complaint. Do you not believe that something is being measured? There’s often times in physics where using temperature is useful even if the idea of, say, an electron having a temperature sounds ludicrous, but low and behold divide it’s kinetic energy by boltzmann’s constant and you get a “temperature” that you can compare to other temperatures as an energy comparison. The readings show there is more energy in the atmosphere which you can associate with a temperature.

    Additionally, Data collection across the globe is spotty today and worse decades ago, let alone centuries or millennia ago. When we’re talking about tenths of a degree it is ludicrous to claim to have any secure conclusions.

    The graph I supplied is of satellite readings, from a skeptic’s blog, which I believe much more reliable than ground based readings. There’s obviously a lot of noise, but there’s also a trend.

    • #21
  22. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Skyler (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a global average temperature.

    There most certainly is such a thing, just how useful that thing is and how accurate it can be measured is a big question mark.

    I think Matt Ridley’s approach of “lukewarming” is much more constructive as it utilizes Ben Shapiro’s tip for arguing with liberal’s #3 – Concede points that doesn’t win them anything. Make CO2 caused global warming into a small plus, rather than a minus by using science.

    Please read Ridley’s essay in comment #8 above.

    • #22
  23. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a global average temperature.

    There most certainly is such a thing, just how useful that thing is and how accurate it can be measured is a big question mark.

    I think Matt Ridley’s approach of “lukewarming” is much more constructive as it utilizes Ben Shapiro’s tip for arguing with liberal’s #3 – Concede points that doesn’t win them anything. Make CO2 caused global warming into a small plus, rather than a minus by using science.

    Please read Ridley’s essay in comment #8 above.

    I prefer Skyler’s tip for arguing.  Never concede a false premise.

    Your objection to the fact that there is no such thing as a global average temperature is just semantics.  You and I both said that such a number might be useful.  I agree, there are uses for fictions in many fields of study.  I will not conceded that it is not a fiction, because it is most certainly not anything but a fiction.

     

    • #23
  24. Joe P Member
    Joe P
    @JoeP

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Joe P (View Comment):
    just want to be able to put this in context for someone who is alarmed, since explaining that warming isn’t going to be that big a deal (if it isn’t) is easier than explaining why cap and trade is dumb.

    Suit yourself, but explaining why cap and trade is a corrupt practice is more fun, IMO. People should not deprive themselves of this entertainment.

    Oh, it’s definitely more fun. I’m not as far up on it as I am other issues, but I love pointing out how crooked people’s pet economic ideas are.

    The problem is if you’re talking to a panicked person it’s harder to change their mind about the whole thing if they’re stuck in “We have to do something” mode that common people tend to embrace when something is “a problem.” You know, the whole “you have to suddenly suspend our disbelief about every failed policy of the past because this time the laws of economics and physics no longer apply normally, so we should do exactly the sort of stupid thing I wanted to do anyway, and if you disagree it’s because you aren’t taking this serious issue seriously.”

    When people are in that panic-mode (assuming they’re not dishonest) you can end up playing crappy policy whack-a-mole as they jump from one horrible “something” to the next. They can find this exhausting and assume you’re just being argumentative and contrarian. Which amuses me greatly because I’ve beaten them to a proverbial pulp and they’re reduced to a quivering frustrated mass. But then they’re just kind of mad at you and just write off everything you say from that point on.

    All of which is totally fine, unless the point is to persuade someone you might care about. So in those cases, I find it can be better to just cut straight to “this isn’t a problem” if it’s possible to do so.

    • #24
  25. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Do you not believe that something is being measured?

    Of course something is being measured.  The question to ask is, what is being measured and how accurate is the measurement?

    In Austin, at this very minute, I can take equally accurate thermometers to different parts of the city and get variations in temperature of several degrees.  That’s one city at one point in time.  Who’s to say which measurement is more useful and should be used to calculate this global temperature?

    I agree that maybe you could get an accurate measurement within ten degrees, but not tenths of a degree.  It’s flat out absurd.

    • #25
  26. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Do you not believe that something is being measured?

    Of course something is being measured. The question to ask is, what is being measured and how accurate is the measurement?

    In Austin, at this very minute, I can take equally accurate thermometers to different parts of the city and get variations in temperature of several degrees. That’s one city at one point in time. Who’s to say which measurement is more useful and should be used to calculate this global temperature?

    I agree that maybe you could get an accurate measurement within ten degrees, but not tenths of a degree. It’s flat out absurd.

    Satellites average over the entire surface, so it is completely unlike using a thermometer on the ground. I mean, you could do it with ground based readings, but you would need an incredible number evenly distributed across the planet. I also don’t think it’s absurd at all to believe the precision. Again, this isn’t a run-of-the-mill mercury thermometer. This is highly sophisticated readings of infrared radiation spectrum of which the peak in the frequency is directly proportional to temperature. You can detect incredibly small changes that correspond to hundredths of a degree when averaged over the entire planet.

    • #26
  27. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    What real science that manages to slip past the censors indicates is that there has never been justification for assuming a big sensitivity figure, that other processes exist that historically they have overwhelmed relatively small forcings like CO2 and that to the extent that net climate sensitivity can be calculated it is significantly below 2.0 deg C per doubling and nowhere near the silly 3-6.o range routinely proffered by alarmist shills.

    When Bjorn Lomborg published the Skeptical Environmentalist way back in 1998 he was subjected to an all out assault because (a) he made the common sense observation (from published science) that the sensitivity was more likely to be around 1.5 than 2.0 & up and (b) that even at 2.0 it made far more economic sense to plan to adapt to a slightly warmer world that to strangle economic growth in a futile attempt to preclude anthropogenic warming.  I think the latter heresy (meticulously presented in detail) was even more offensive to the “consensus” because global warming/climate change was always a political project first and a scientific enterprise (a distant) second.

    At this point I do not know what it will take to shake the religious belief of the the alarmists.  The growing gap between the “consensus”-blessed model ensemble projections and real temps (even with heavily massaged past data) will only worsen.  I guess they will just scream louder and get angrier.  That appears to be the plan.

    • #27
  28. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Satellites average over the entire surface, so it is completely unlike using a thermometer on the ground

    Even were I to concede this argument, which I don’t, there still weren’t such satellites in the sky until only  few years ago.  You cannot pretend to know what such a measurement from 50 years ago was, let alone 1000  years, so there is no basis for making conclusions about warming.

    • #28
  29. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Satellites average over the entire surface, so it is completely unlike using a thermometer on the ground

    Even were I to concede this argument, which I don’t, there still weren’t such satellites in the sky until only few years ago. You cannot pretend to know what such a measurement from 50 years ago was, let alone 1000 years, so there is no basis for making conclusions about warming.

    No basis?  Sure the measurements were imperfect, but there was still a lot of them, and when you have a lot of data, statistics is incredibly powerful. People weren’t looking for global warming 100 years ago, but there’s still usable data from that time, and it overall shows some warming. I mean, obviously you’re not going to budge on this, but hopefully this conversation is helpful for other people.

    • #29
  30. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    What real science that manages to slip past the censors indicates is that there has never been justification for assuming a big sensitivity figure, that other processes exist that historically they have overwhelmed relatively small forcings like CO2 and that to the extent that net climate sensitivity can be calculated it is significantly below 2.0 deg C per doubling and nowhere near the silly 3-6.o range routinely proffered by alarmist shills.

    When Bjorn Lomborg published the Skeptical Environmentalist way back in 1998 he was subjected to an all out assault because (a) he made the common sense observation (from published science) that the sensitivity was more likely to be around 1.5 than 2.0 & up and (b) that even at 2.0 it made far more economic sense to plan to adapt to a slightly warmer world that to strangle economic growth in a futile attempt to preclude anthropogenic warming. I think the latter heresy (meticulously presented in detail) was even more offensive to the “consensus” because global warming/climate change was always a political project first and a scientific enterprise (a distant) second.

    Well, we all know that strangling economic growth is the ends, not the means of people who advocate for it. Global warming is just a convenient excuse. If it wasn’t global warming they would find some other variable that changes due to human activity and use it as justification to forcibly stop human activity.

    At this point I do not know what it will take to shake the religious belief of the the alarmists. The growing gap between the “consensus”-blessed model ensemble projections and real temps (even with heavily massaged past data) will only worsen. I guess they will just scream louder and get angrier. That appears to be the plan.

    Probably, good thing I have more faith in the truth winning over time than most.

    • #30

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