In California, #EarthHour failed to even register a blip in electricity reduction

On Saturday, March 24th, Earth Hour was held in every time zone around the world at 8:30 PM local time. I had already run an essay pointing out why Earth Hour is little more than a ridiculous feel-good exercise that does nothing but demonize the value of electricity bringing mankind out of the darkness and poverty.

The headlines as displayed by Google search, looked like this:

You’d think it was a success, except for those pesky people in British Columbia that didn’t want to sit in the dark as much as they did before. In the AP story in the LA Times, this was said:

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower went dark. In London, a kaleidoscope of famous sites switched off their lights — Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye. That scene was repeated over and over across the world Saturday night: at Sydney’s Opera House; at New Delhi’s great arch; at Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland; at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin; at St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

It lasted for just an hour and its power is purely symbolic. But in countries around the world, at 8:30 p.m., people were switching off their lights for Earth Hour, a global call for international unity on the importance of addressing climate change.

But, while I agree it was “purely symbolic” (aka ridiculous feel-good stunt) those are all words.

To really show why Earth Hour is ridiculous, we need some hard data.

For that, I turned to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and their online web tool that tracks statewide electricity usage, here: http://www.caiso.com/TodaysOutlook/Pages/default.aspx

Here’s some screencaps of data from 3/24 at 8:30PM and 8:40PM California time. Note the inset box near the graph for the time and values. 20:30 is 830PM California time, right when Earth Hour is supposed to start.

 

Clearly, there’s not even a hint of the sharp hoped-for drop in electricity use the event was supposed to create.

Note there is hardly any difference in demand from 20:30 (8:30PM) to 20:40 (8:40PM) There’s a difference of 24,998MW at 8:30PM vs. 24,931 at 8:40PM. Proponents of the event might say that difference of 67MW in demand is “proof” of the success of Earth Hour.

Um, no.

CAISO also allows you to examine and compare the previous day of data, and that’s what I did and you can see in these two screen captures for 8:30PM and 8:40PM California time on Friday, March 23rd. Electricity demand for Saturday, March 24th is also displayed.

Yesterday, March 23rd, the total demand was 26,204MW at 8:30PM (20:30) and 26,081MW at 8:40PM (20:40) and the difference over that 10 minutes was 123 MW – nearly double.

So what that says that on a normal day, when Californians aren’t being told to turn off their lights to participate in the ridiculous stunt known as “Earth Hour” Saturday, they actually dropped nearly twice the electricity demand in those same 10 minutes on Friday.

Here is the data I downloaded from CAISO, you can check my findings:

CAISO-demand_03-23-24-18 (Excel file)

I suspect that if other data was examined around the world, we’d find similar results saying that Earth Hour had no discernible impact on electricity demand.

That lack of significant impact on electricity use during Earth Hour in California could be for one of two reasons:

  1. Participation could be essentially non-existent – people really don’t want to sit in the dark
  2. More people left their lights on (as I recommended) to protest the ridiculous stunt and muted the impact of the few who did turn off their lights and sit in the dark.

Let that sink in. Clearly, Earth Hour was a complete failure in the nation-state that supposedly leads the world in greenness and sustainability. If they can’t sell it in uber-green California, maybe they should just give up on the event.

 

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94 thoughts on “In California, #EarthHour failed to even register a blip in electricity reduction

  1. I wouldn’t even have known about it if I didn’t come to WUWT every day, and even then I forgot about it, which is a shame, as I might have gone to the superb Lantern Light Festival in Vallejo again to celebrate and further support the use of light and beautiful colors. Was there a few nights ago. Although it wouldn’t have made a significant contribution to the usage data, it’s definitely symbolic:
    http://oi66.tinypic.com/iem7o1.jpg

  2. I detected a particular lack of enthusiasm in the local media. I think ‘they’ are just going through the motions. They aren’t going to cancel Earth Hour but they are going to let it peter out. Maybe ‘they’ have discovered that it isn’t worth the effort.

    • I think it’s due to the Trump effect. The MSM is suffering so badly from Trump Derangement that they forgot to promote Earth Day. I’ve heard almost nothing about it this year, if it weren’t for WUWT I would have never known it was Saturday.
      Every year I walk around my neighbourhood on Earth Day to observe how many homes have their lights off. This year, for the first time, no homes were dark. None.
      And my kids, who used to be big Earth Day enthusiasts, didn’t even know it was Earth Day. Wow. Times change.
      Trump.

      • The schools are all herding the kids into the anti-gun crusade this month. No time left over to save the planet.

      • Yes, I think even the committed only have a fixed amount of concern or outrage that they have available. If they spend it all on Trump, or plastic floating in the ocean, then they will not have any left for global warming.

      • Not to mention Klem that the leftist agenda is messing with these kids Netflix usage. This “don’t use electricity and save the planet” nonsense is a word and not a participation game for the “ute” of American. To Rod’s point they have no skin in the “take everyone’s gun” game and Michael they have an endless amount outrage so long as it doesn’t cost them anything. Which is why Joe Wagner is spot on. Anytime you require one of these safe zone leftists to jump on the grenade they move rapidly in the other direction. But Trebla, we can dream can’t we? Yours is a very pleasant thought, a world without megaphones screeching outrage.

      • My evil plot to destroy the planet is finally coming to fruition. Last Saturday night, the wife and I were leaving a movie theater, and there it was: a receptacle with a huge sign over it that read “Save the Planet – Recycle Your 3D Glasses!”
        So one year from that day, at exactly 8:30 pm EDT, I plan to throw away my 3D glasses! Mwwwwwaaaahahahahahahhaaaaaa! Prepare to meet thy doom, flat-earth denialists!!!

    • I have an idea that we could all find more appealing. I call it “breath hour”. Let all the Greens stop breathing for one hour once per year. This would reduce the amount of CO2 exhaled as a symbolic gesture to show their love for the planet while avoiding any inconvenience to those who chose not to take part.

      • They’d just demand everyone else do it while they jog everywhere checking up on us, thus doubling their CO2 output.

    • Where I live, White Night is all the rage now days.
      Bad luck, Earth Hour. You got gazumped.

  3. Anthony, I agree with you that the whole stunt is a ridiculous stunt, I would like to see if you could tighten up the data. When I do energy models I use a different profile for a Saturday than I do on a weekday. Secondly, I find that a scatter plot of temperature on the x-axis vs either consumption (kWhr) or demand (kW) on the y-axis gives the most accurate indication of an actual energy savings. (It’s supposed to produce a 3-point floating trend line, but I haven’t written the macros to make Excel do that). So scatterplot several other Saturdays in one color, and a different color for “Earthhour”. Then you’ll know something.

    • next you’ll be telling them there’s no omniscient distributor of causeless wealth or something and totally ruin their childhoods. just crush their self esteem why don’t you?

    • Proof is in the eye of the beholder.
      These charades prove plenty to me, but I don’t think it’s ever what the organizers intend.

  4. Just more virtue signalling nonsense.
    The Left/Green element isn’t interested in facts, only in false perceptions

    • Al Gore turned up the heater 10 degrees, fed his hounds kangaroo meat, then ate a hearty meal of bbqed central African flamingo.

      • Recently a game warden came across Al Gore sitting in the forest under a giant redwood. Al was eating a bald eagle. The game warden was aghast and demanded “Al, of all people you should know that even owning a bald eagle feather is against the law. How could you possibly eat one?” Being quick on his feet, Al justified his eating a bald eagle with the following sad tale. “I sincerely apologize. You see I was walking through the forest staring at the tops of the trees and exalting in the glory of nature. I stumbled over a root and twisted my ankle so badly I couldn’t walk. I would have starved; but fortunately a bald eagle died in flight and fell at my feet. It was a message from the all mighty, and I proceeded to follow His wishes by eating his bounty knowing that He wanted me to carry on my message.” After giving the matter some thought, the game warden said “I understand and even sympathize with your situation; but I’m legally bound to give you give you a summons requiring that you appear before a federal magistrate. I wouldn’t worry though. I’m sure the magistrate will be sympathetic and void the ticket.” Sure enough, the magistrate listened to Al’s tale of woe and ruled that the extraordinary circumstances warranted dismissing all charges. As the court was being adjourned the magistrate pulled Al aside and asked “I just have to know. What does a bald eagle taste like?” Al replied “Well, if the bald eagle is barbecued with a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of lemon, it tastes exactly like a California condor.

  5. I forgot it was earth hour until I read it on WUWT. I searched our news but found nothing. Earth hour in New Zealand is a thing of the past .Our kids won’t know what earth hour is.

  6. If we look at it from a psychological perspective it goes something like this…. (It might be an explanation for it all)
    How many psychologists does it take to change a light-globe?
    Only one, if the light-globe actually wants to change.

  7. I thought the Eiffel tower went dark in memory of the gendarme killed at Trébes, Carcassonne.

      • Oh my dayz. Could you imagine if the BBC actually tried to live up to what they want for the rest of us? How fantastic would it be if they had a regular audit to monitor their progress to be “carbon-free”. What merciful release.

  8. I forgot but I will turn my lights out when I go to bed. We all have to do our part. So climate change has been ended for now everywhere and for all time because of this exercise. However; stoping the Earth’s climate from changing will not put an end to extreme weather evernt or sea level rise because they are all part of the current climate.

    • “I will turn my lights out when I go to bed.” We applaud your activism and thank you for your contribution!

  9. Pleased that they did not switch off the power to the hospitals, the sewerage works, street lighting, traffic lights, computer hubs, etc. etc..

    • Sewerage — Part of Earth Hour should be “holding it” — or, at the very least, not flushing it, for an hour. “Activists” could make a statement by going out on the streets.

  10. If you were a good greeny who intended to take part in Earth Hour, would you leave all the lights on up until 8.30, or would you start switching everything off early? If the later, then could this partly explain the readings?

  11. What did Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the city and campus at Berkeley (Berzerkely) look like during that time? Did any of the other heavily blue states (NY, NJ, almost all of New England, etc) go significantly dark? It would be interesting to see if such leftist enclaves actually walked the walk instead of just talked the talk. I suspect I know the answer in most cases though.

  12. I kept my outdoor lights on throughout the night to celebrate Earth Day.

  13. This again demonstrates Activist David Hogg’s curse that “Our parents don’t know how to use their f*****g democracy!. Just wait until he turns his attention to Glow-bull Warning, what rhetoric – empty!

  14. Didn’t even know it was happening otherwise I would have switched some lights on. Previous years it has been in the news in the UK before the event but cannot recall anything this year. Spent the hour in a warm well lit pub enjoying a hot cooked meal and some good real ale brewed and distributed using heat and energy.
    If these idiots want to make a point I suggest they go and live for a month without any electricity. They wouldn’t last 5 minutes without checking their phones or internet for facebook or twitter..

  15. I look forward to the day when it will be “lights out” for the CAGW movement. Can’t come soon enough.

  16. Unlike Earth Day, Earth Hour is a johnny-come-lately movement which started in 2007, whose sole focus was (and is) on cutting electric power use. particularly lighting, which is why they chose night time. It was meant to both dramatize and invigorate the anti-fossil fuel Climatist movement, now in the process of dying. Earth Day began in 1970, and was a true environmental movement, with some actual environmental causes like actual pollution. They did hitch their wagon to the Globalist Warming movement, probably around the same time as Earth Hour, 2007, probably because a lot of the environmental concerns had been addressed. People needed something to be “concerned” about. But, that hasn’t really panned out for them, since the CAGW movement is dying. So now, they’ve latched onto plastic as their latest cause-du-jeur, saying “the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet”.
    Really? It’s threatening the survival of our planet? Our planet would probably beg to differ.

    • I remember after the first Earth Hour, somebody published a picture of a city with a bridge in the fore ground. I don’t remember what city it was.
      The first picture was at 8pm, the second picture was at 9pm. The second picture was noticeably darker. The publisher proclaimed that this proved that Earth Hour was a success. The problem was quite a few people noticed that the headlights on the cars on the bridge were less than half as bright in the second picture.
      Either somebody had figured out a way to dim car headlights, or the second picture was dramatically under exposed compared to the first one.

    • The original Earth Day sprang out of the anti-capitalist fervor of a couple communists, Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes and a pointy-headed intellectual, Paul Ehrlich.
      This has been a very successful campaign – as with the term “feminism,” they made it normal and required to say you were an “environmentalist.” The concepts are vague, and so they can then slip in any distantly related, sensible or foolish, idea they want, and have the populace half-way supportive without having to explain very much at all. –For example, I recycle, and think it is a fine idea, but I have also read the analyses noting that in many cases it takes more energy and produces more pollution to recycle than to create some material from original-source resources – but this never gets discussed, since we all blankly accept the idea, generally.

      • The 3 Rs can be a cure for ignorance or IOW a lack of knowledge. But stupidity is a lack of the ability to learn or intelligence and thus by definition cannot be cured by learning.
        Definition of ignorance
        : the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness
        Definition of stupid
        1
        a : slow of mind : obtuse
        b : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner
        c : lacking intelligence or reason : brutish

  17. There’s a technical acronym for events such as earth hour: W.A.N.K.
    I forget what the individual letters denote.

  18. So *that’s* the solution: Turn out the lights. I assume the Alarmists/Greens also do not want any new lights installed, so those poor people in the Third World can just give up their dreams of lifting themselves out of poverty.
    I don’t think that will fly in the Third World. More, not less, they say.

  19. I find example after example of energy waste for decorative purposes, which is well beyond the waste of having lights in you own home for safety and convenience. But I hear no protests over such things as decorative torches at restaurants that burn night and day. Couldn’t be bothered to even put a timer on them. I saw this near Disneyland on Harbor Blvd, in the heart of SoCal. Now why don’t they protest a waste of energy such as that, or a thousand more examples of waste. If this was so critical to mankind as they infer, every effort should be made to change behavior. But since even blatant waste is ignored, the whole CAGW movement is a sham and can be ignored by those that have not been brainwashed.
    BTW, I love Red94ViperRT10’s name. Maybe I will change mine to ’09R/TClassicB5Blue.

  20. I find it funny that they are mainly targeting lights for earth hour….this could also be why the movement is on the decline. Back when Earth hour started there were far more incandescent, halogen and other energy intensive light sources around then there are now. But no many private homes and commercial properties have converted to florescent and LED lighting, which use very little energy (LEDs especially).
    So what’s a greenie to do? Maybe go after the real energy hogs in their homes and buildings, like refrigeration, air conditioning, electric stoves, electric water heaters, space heaters, etc. Also, flat screen tvs and monitors draw a lot of power as well….better shut those off!
    But then again, if they killed the main sources of energy consumption for an hour, they’d have nothing to show. It would be kind of like in the Bible when Jesus admonished the religious leaders of his day for doing their alms in public. In other words, they weren’t being genuine but rather saying “hey everyone, look at me! Check out the huge sacrifices I’m making and look how pious I am!” All for show and that is that.

  21. I forgot all about it. At least I was at a Hockey game, where they have to freeze the Ice and heat the building even though it was a Global warming high of 38 when the normal high for the day should be 48.The whole month of March has been colder than normal in these parts.

    • I was volunteering at a Lacrosse game. It was unusually cold for late March, we had to wear our winter coats. We have another winter storm forecasted for later this week. We could really use some of that global warming.

  22. Some four (4?) decades ago after the oil collapse I flew across the Louisiana coast when the saying came out –“Will the last person leaving Morgan City please turn out the lights.” Air traffic was nearly gone, but they forgot. This was about the same time as bumper stickers– “…let them freeze in the dark.” If history repeats itself we will have a lot more wind machine fossils than we did then.

  23. In British Columbia, power generation is mainly produced by a government entity, BC Hydro. Generation output from BC Hydro and private producers seems to be kept a secret for some reason. There is no site for the public to see generation output. One can see generation outputs in Alberta, Ontario, Germany, Australia, England to name a few but not in BC, why is that? What is the difference? Maybe hiding dismal out put from wind generation? Who knows.

    • B.C.’s electricity use actually increases 0.2 per cent during Earth Hour 2018. Nobody cares anymore about the empty ‘signal virtue’ of misguided environmental nut bars. Especially now that gasoline prices are approaching double what is just south of the border 25 miles away, because of extortionist protesters opposed to pipelines. And the Carbon Tax and excessive federal, provincial and municipal taxes on gas.
      Price is now north of $1.56 Cdn a litre, or about $4.60 a gallon USD. And projected to go up now that the refiners are shut down for spring maintenance and conversion to summer fuel.
      http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/b-c-s-electricity-use-increases-0-2-per-cent-during-earth-hour-2018

  24. Here is the data I downloaded from CAISO, you can check my findings:
    CAISO-demand_03-23-24-18 (Excel file)

    Anthony, I would suggest subtraction of the rows 4 and 5 for the two days. That kinda gives us an “anomaly” against the daily cycle.
    There does a appear to be a tiny glitch and showing how small it is, is interesting.
    I can’t be bothered wasting time with mickey mouse tools like spreadsheets, I’m not familiar and it is not something I want or need to learn. Someone familiar XL may wish to post a “chart” of the difference.

    • It does not last an hour either. IMO most people are doing it for 10 or 15 min then realise that they need electricity to function.

  25. “If they can’t sell it in uber-green California, maybe they should just give up on the event.”
    One part of me thinks its not nice to mock the Liberal mental illness that typifies those who want Climate Change awareness.
    The other half, the half that is usually in control of executive functions, says they deserve all the derision, mockery, and scorn that can be heaped on them.

    • Excellent to see. I didn’t hear anything about earth hour in the local news, so this isn’t too surprising.
      Frankly, unless you are willing to turn off the main breaker for your entire house, I don’t think that you are actually participating. And with the cold we have been having here right now, that would have been a cold hour (Sorry, you can’t use your fireplace either, that produces the evil gas too.).

  26. The market ultimately drives everything. I have worked on site investigations and cleanups for decades. I have always done the job faithfully but still take the attempt at quantification of risk to human health and the environment with a grain of salt, in other words I am pragmatic in my approach. I replaced all the lights in my house with LEDs, over 130 but I lost count. It was not to save the planet, I just got tired of replacing light bulbs. I probably save $5 a month in electricity and spent $1,000 on light bulbs. The economics of it is questionable until you add in the savings on time spent changing burned out light bulbs (including CFLs). I considered going solar, but when I realized you still get shut off in a blackout and you have to buy back power at night, it quickly lost its appeal. If battery storage isn’t such that I can go completely off grid, it isn’t worth it. An electric car is out of the question due to high expense and short range. All this angst over energy sources is meaningless. A new refrigerator might save me $90 a year in energy at most, which would never pay for itself and would result in wasting a perfectly good refrigerator. The long term answer is inevitable and has been with us for decades, geothermal and nuclear. There is no energy shortage and will not be for the foreseeable future, only a preference for energy sources. When greenies eventually tire of windmills and solar panels (which I learned in high school physics in the early 1970s cannot meet energy needs), we will be able to progress to practical energy sources. What is a great concern is that petroleum has many uses as materials as well as fuel (lubricants, solvents, asphalt, tar, plastic, synthetic fibers, organic chemicals to name a few). Finding substitutes for these will be difficult. Green insistence on converting to impractical energy sources with extremely limited energy potential is probably causing us to continue to burn petroleum as fuel needlessly. If Greenies want to actually solve our energy future, get behind geothermal and nuclear as energy sources.

    • It’s more than just labor savings, Jim. I went to the trouble to calculate total bulb hours per month in my home then total kWh/month for incandescent vs. LED lighting and the savings amount to $205/year. And I live in a low cost electric area (SD). In CA or NY it would be a lot more. If the LED’s really last 30,000 hours as claimed then the bulb cost is about the same or less and, as you point out, the maintenance time and effort are a lot less. In my case some of the savings are lost because I found I am a lot less obsessive about turning off lights with the LED’s. Not that any of it matters much to the planet since nearly all my power is from hydro.

  27. Sigh. The takeaway from Earth Hour isn’t in the glowing (!) reviews or the minuscule amount of electricity saved. No, the terror is in who participated. The cited list did not include the headquarters of the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, or any private endeavors who are free to behave as idiotically as they like. The exasperating thing is these edifices of human development are for the most part taxpayer funded which means the Enviros already have the control knobs of government in their grasping, nasty hands. And to be sure, if public education had Saturday night classes, the students would happily sit in the dark, along with Teacher.

    • Yeah, but just think — Al Gore’s energy bill went down from $30,000 to $29,995 this month!

  28. One possible intended benefit of this Hour was to make greenies feel uplifted by noticing that there were others in their neighborhood like them—and perhaps encouraging connections among them. Another possible benefit was to nudge fence-sitters into “standing up and being counted” on the green side.

  29. I’m astonished nobody but nobody gets this. Only creatures of the night like darkness. The other creatures hide because they can’t see anything like the creatures of the night can. And, we all know that vampires are creatures of the night. And, I happen to know that vampires exist. I have a sister; an older sister. That’s how I know.
    Now do you understand? Earth Hour is really Vampire Hour. It’s an extra hour every year for vampires, who consider themselves our superiors, to sucker (appropriate verb) the little people into giving them even more; more time to suck blood out of their bodies. I say; Don’t fall for the scam. Yep, that’s what I say.

  30. “But…but…but…It felt good! (Damn! I can’t see the outlet to recharge my Smartphone.)”
    These kids don’t realize that if they get what they’ve been told they want, whether “sustainable energy” or gun bans, their future will change…and not for the better.

  31. This is from last year, but it actually says:
    At 8:30 p.m. your local time, turn off the lights for an hour and, through Facebook Live or a live channel of your choice, turn up the tunes using #EarthHourLive.
    So, stop using electricity, and then use electricity to listen to bands who are using electricity, presumably with stage lights …
    https://m.sfgate.com/entertainment/the-wrap/article/What-Is-EarthHour-and-Why-Are-All-the-Lights-Off-11027989.php

  32. Yet another symptom that the political environmentalist bubble is long burst and it is losing even its virtue signaling value for the common leftist citizen.

  33. I had lived in a European country where the evening-lights-shutting was done as an experiment some 60 years ago. The no-lights lasted only a few minutes and was well coordinated to appear at 20:00 or such time with neighbors watching/reminding. Needless to say the analog gauges in the power-stations did not move. At the shutdown or reconnecting which was synchronized on and off (via radio).
    In those days light bulbs consumed relatively large amount of household energy there not being TV, refrigerator …..
    It is ridiculous to expect that lights would measurably impact the 465 000 000 000 W average US consumption (it is more in the evening).

  34. Drat, I forgot about it too. I was going to turn on the light on my balcony just to be rebellious.

  35. Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.
    And guess what? The climate, in spite of the best efforts of all these well-meaning, deluded ‘individuals’, is STILL changing!
    Only one slight problem though. It isn’t getting warmer, as all the global warming useful idiots would have us believe.
    Instead, it’s getting COLDER.
    And this, notwithstanding the lion’s share of the carbon pollution (aka CO2, plant food) being released into the atmosphere by China and others (including Germany on a per capita basis).
    Now who do you suppose might be behind making Earth Hour such a world-wide, rip-roaring success?
    https://en.wwfchina.org/en/what_we_do/climate___energy/lclc/earth_hour/
    No surprise there.

    • Not to mention various African countries. If it’s good to shut down lights for an hour, then it must be even better to shut them down for a month, or year, or forever, yet for some reason most Greens aren’t willing to do that.

  36. Thanks for this. My greenie, gun-hating, big-government-loving FB friends had a pic of their sitting around candles at a kitchen table (like Neanderthals at a fire in a cave, huddled against the elements). I didn’t know what they were doing. LOL

  37. I forgot about it until I read Jo Nova yesterday. If I remembered I would have had every light blazing like I usually do. As Tim Blair says we should celebrate the fact we have such a wonderful thing as electricity and those beautiful coal fired power stations that produce it.

  38. Many systems run efficiently in a steady-state. Turning off A/C for an hour will require catch-up to reach the demand temperature cutting in and out more frequently. Of course this means shifting electrical demand. Additionally power companies work hard to predict demand to avoid costly unexpected demand loads. Life is never simple and good intentions often have poor or bad results.

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