Houses on waterfront Nanortalik Greenland. amanderson2, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Greenland Votes to Suspend Oil and Uranium Exploration because Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Greenland Government, which currently survives on handouts from Denmark, has voted not to encourage the development of local oil and mineral resources, because of climate change.

Greenland suspends oil exploration because of climate change

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The left-leaning government on Greenland which could be sitting on vast oil reserves, has decided to suspend all oil exploration off the the world’s largest island, calling it is “a natural step” because the Arctic government “takes the climate crisis seriously.”

No oil has yet been found in the waters of Greenland which had ambitions that hydrocarbons would be crucial to help Greenlanders realize their long-held dream of cutting the annual subsidy of 3.4 billion kroner ($540 million) from Denmark that currently rules out full independence.

Global warming means that the retreating ice could uncover potential oil and mineral resources which, if successfully tapped, could dramatically change the fortunes of the semiautonomous Danish territory of 57,000 people.

“The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to the renewable energy and in that respect we have much more to gain,” the Greenland government said in a statement. It “wants to take co-responsibility for combating the global climate crisis.”

Read more:

In my opinion this is rather sad news for local Greenlanders.

Greenland suffers the highest rate of youth suicide in the world, endemic poverty, a total lack of opportunity, and rampant alcohol and drug abuse – possibly because they are mostly a government handout economy. Two thirds of Greenland’s economy is based on money gifted from Denmark.

Driving forward a genuine domestic mineral export economy, requiring mining companies to hire locals, could have potentially changed all that, by offering more young people pride and hope for a better future, along with a serious source of private sector income.

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Shoki Kaneda
July 16, 2021 2:13 pm

Leftists don’t like work. They think the world owes them a living.

Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
July 19, 2021 12:40 am

Anthony Watts lives off social security.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Steve45
July 19, 2021 4:36 am

I think if you would do a little research, you will find your comment shows your extreme ignorance. If Anthony is trying to live off Social Security he will not be living it up. The maximum benefit at 62 (if Anthony is 62 yet) is $2324/month. That’s hardly enough for a life of leisure. And he would have to have paid the maximum tax to Social Security for years so it’s really just a return on his investment. The more you paid in, the lower the return, so if you get the maximum benefit you are really getting ripped off.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
July 19, 2021 7:26 am

Ignore Steve, he’s all about personal attacks and no substance whatsoever.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
July 19, 2021 1:54 pm

He’s an unemployed failed weather girl

Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 2:17 pm

I would defer to David Middleton if wrong, but Greenland is very unlikely to harbor any oil. The exposed 1/5 of Greenland is preCambrian igneous bedrock (abiotic oil is a fully discredited speculation) and the rest of the world’s largest island is covered by a kms thick ice sheet. Plus,,if the exposed outside is bedrock, so probably is the unexposed island interior.

Uranium, maybe…there is at least one Greenland rare earth deposit known.

So this ‘decision’ is just meaningless green virtue signaling, proven by lumping oil with uranium. Very Publicly Abandoning the search for something that does not exist is NOT a big sacrifice. It is a PR exercise for those too feeble minded to google Greenland geology, like I just did.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 2:28 pm

When the inevitable global cooling arrives they will have to abandon this Danish colony just like the previous Viking colony.🥶

Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
July 16, 2021 2:34 pm

The Greenlanders will be fine – they will power everything off solar panels 🙂

Reply to  Martin
July 16, 2021 4:25 pm

Solar panels and winter are not a good mix. Especially in north/south arctic/Antarctic regions😩

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rasa
July 16, 2021 8:15 pm

Rasa, detecting sarcasm is not your strong point.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 17, 2021 6:43 am

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit and has no place in a technical debate, except to negate whatever point the contributor may have to make. It simply makes the point being made indirect and unclear, and/or the contributor ignored as not serious. Genuine and obvious humour is fine, accompanied by the appropriate icon. Sarcasm is usually not funny. Typically, only the person being sarcastic thinks they are funny. Say what you mean if you want it respected.

Reply to  Rasa
July 20, 2021 9:04 am

This time it’s different.

Reply to  Martin
July 17, 2021 12:40 pm

Is that what those chimneys are for?

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 3:05 pm

I don’t think they expect oil on the land but in the basins around Greenland where there is sedimentary rock.,Local%20and%20Regional%20Interests.%20…%206%20Conclusion.%20

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 4:23 pm

BTW Australia is the largest island.(roughly the size of North America) Australia is also the smallest continent😁👌

Reply to  Rasa
July 16, 2021 6:17 pm

Only if “roughly” includes Australia being 1/3 the size of NA.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Dave
July 16, 2021 8:27 pm

Australia is also the only country that is also a continent. Australians who are “in country” are also, ipso facto, in continent.

David A
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
July 16, 2021 9:38 pm

Something in the water?

Reply to  David A
July 17, 2021 2:22 am

Like people river swimming in Paris are ‘in Seine’

Al Kour
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
July 18, 2021 6:14 am

They are walking upside down so we shouldn’t take them seriousely.

Reply to  Dave
July 17, 2021 6:53 am


Oz is 7.7km^2, USA 9.8 and Canada 10.0.

Conclusion: Someone needs to learn how to check facts and do maths on them.

Perhaps Rasa meant Oz is about the same size as the USA, and doesn’t know about Canada owning half of North America? But what he means is rarely clear, let alone thought through before typing. Best ignored.

Perhaps he is being sarcastic again? Oh woops, I just did the same thing 😉

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Brian R Catt
July 19, 2021 4:44 am

North America also includes Mexico and Central America.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rasa
July 17, 2021 6:24 am

Australia has uranium, too.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 8:18 pm

Unlike any uranium that might be in Greenland, Australian uranium is easily mine-able and the largest reserves in the World. No economic sense to try to mine Greenland uranium even if it exists given the harsh conditions most of the years.
Australia’s uranium reserves are one big reason China has big bullseye there for take-over. China plays the long game. And uranium is the ultimate long game.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 17, 2021 7:07 am

The primary value of the deposit in iceland is rare earths, already tested and the processing machinery developed. Now on hold because of climate change. China controls the largest reserves of rare earths, and also most of the processing of them, wherever the ore originates, using slave labour and destroying their environment. Something we would minimise if it was done in the West.

Hence China controls global supply. Long game, stupid short term competitors who no longer have to make their own stuff, and are rapidly becoming dependent on China for the stuff that makes modern developed society possible.

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Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 17, 2021 3:10 pm

Rud, Does this mean they will place an embargo on oil imports.

July 16, 2021 2:30 pm

Greenland suffers the highest rate of youth suicide in the world, endemic poverty, a total lack of opportunity, and rampant alcohol and drug abuse – possibly because they are mostly a government handout economy.”

Another leftist Utopia.

Reply to  Harves
July 16, 2021 2:58 pm

Just as earlier generations have discarded the establishment principles of their parents’ generation, maybe the current teen generation will decide to discard the “green” establishment principles currently being practiced throughout Western societies.

The question “how is all this green worship doing me any good” will surely start to infiltrate the minds of even the most sheepish ‘youth’ sooner rather than later.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Mr.
July 16, 2021 3:05 pm

The question “how is all this green worship doing me any good” will surely start to infiltrate the minds of even the most sheepish ‘youth’ sooner rather than later.

I do hope that is true … but sadly, it seems that being a victim sells better.

Reply to  Mr.
July 16, 2021 4:38 pm

I doubt it. The flow of progressive ideas is reliant on the dilapidated mental and emotional state of subsequent generations. No correction away from progressive ideas happens until there’s a catastrophic failure of those ideas.

Reply to  leowaj
July 16, 2021 6:22 pm

I think the pendulum can go both ways. China relaxed the one child policy. Sweden reduced some socialist principles. The USA in the 1990s strengthened anti-crime measures and converted welfare to workfare.

pHil R
Reply to  Harves
July 17, 2021 8:17 am


Better watch out, the sarcasm police appear to be patrolling this post (whoops, that could be misconstrued as…SARCASM!).

Charles Higley
July 16, 2021 2:33 pm

But, that ‘s what they want, a society totally dependent on the government for their welfare. They appear to be the first to fall to Agenda 21. Let the vaccinations start taking out a portion fo the population, the elderly dying earlier, and a lower birth rate, they will be the UN’s poster child for the UN agenda.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 16, 2021 2:34 pm

“The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there could be 17.5 billion undiscovered barrels of oil and 148 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Greenland, although the island’s remote location and harsh weather have limited exploration.” From the full article.

Sounds like this stuff is all offshore, not actually on/under the surface of the island. They still have some active exploration permits too, owned by private companies. It would be great if one or both of these resulted in gushers.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 16, 2021 3:26 pm

USGS has been bigly wrong before, although I still defer to Middleton. For two previous ‘hilariously wrong’ USGS examples, see essays Reserve Reservations (the Monterey shale) and Matryoshka Reserves (the Bahzenov shale) in my ebook Blowing Smoke.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 17, 2021 3:30 am

Oh yes, Rud, USGS is known to err. But I do hope they are correct this time as this could make a huge difference to the people living in Greenland. That is always providing they are allowed to continue exploration. Living on handouts from Denmark is no way to encourage upward mobility.

Yo Middleton! Any insights for us? Is Greenland doomed to a dead-end future or is there some hope they will strike oil/gas off-shore?

pHil R
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 17, 2021 8:22 am

Living on handouts from Denmark is no way to encourage upward mobility.

Unfortunately, that is a feature, not a bug, of authoritarian, leftist/socialist governments.

Nicholas McGinley
July 16, 2021 2:56 pm

This does not seem to make much sense, regarding the uranium extraction ban.
Why would they ban the source of one of the only two known large-scale non-fossil fuel ways to produce power, and the only one that can be installed basically anywhere?

IOW, if one is truly scared that CO2 will cause the Earth to become uninhabitable, why ban the source of nuclear reactor power?

The only real question is, do they know that CAGW is a steaming heap of stinkin’ lies, or are they merely abject ignoramuses who are completely and totally scientifically illiterate?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 16, 2021 3:44 pm

They needed to ban oil and uranium so that they continue to be destitute so Denmark will keep paying support payments. Drilling and mining requires working so obviously they voted for state welfare.

joe belford
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 16, 2021 4:10 pm

1) Greenland already gets 70% of it’s power from hydro.
2) With 57,000 people on the island, a nuclear power plant is overkill.

Reply to  joe belford
July 16, 2021 6:48 pm

Sensible observation Joe.

Reply to  joe belford
July 16, 2021 8:46 pm

“With 57,000 people on the island, a nuclear power plant is overkill”
Not necessarily so: Rosatom’s “Akademik Lomonosov” is is the first in a series of floating power plants that can deliver 70MWe (64MWe net) from a pair of KLT-40S reactors but a pair of ABV-6M reactors, which is an alternative, could deliver a quarter of this (18/16MWe) and would be perfect for meeting power demands of around 50,000 people

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Zeddy
July 17, 2021 6:30 am

Yes, we have to think outside the box when it comes to nuclear reactors.

I seem to sense a little more acceptance of nuclear on the alarmist side lately.

If the alarmists had any sense, they would cry out for full nuclear power generation, instead of pressing ahead with unreliable wind and solar. Nuclear would solve their CO2 “problem”, could adequately power all of society, and the conservatives would get on board that train.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 17, 2021 12:51 pm

They perfected welfare mining; very clean technology.

Nicholas McGinley
July 16, 2021 3:01 pm

The good news is, whatever is there, will still be there, just waiting for when we really need it badly enough to stop entertaining the sensibilities of fools.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 16, 2021 5:50 pm

I have always been saying burn the Arabs oil first , save our oil for later

Steve Case
Reply to  Eben
July 17, 2021 12:41 am


David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Eben
July 17, 2021 4:07 pm

In the Western countries, the way things are going we could easily wait long enough to finish tanking our economies completely, this just to make it technologically a bit easier for Chinese and other overseas interests to take over absolutely everything and make some use of it all.

A winning strategy I’m sure, the UK government already has it down pat!

Robert of Texas
July 16, 2021 3:01 pm

“…endemic poverty, a total lack of opportunity, and rampant alcohol and drug abuse – possibly because they are mostly a government handout economy…”

I’m sorry, did you say “New York City” or was this some other typical liberal run regoin?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 16, 2021 8:30 pm

Texas doesn’t have any Indian reservations, but go to Oklahoma or New Mexico and see socialism in action on the reservations there.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 17, 2021 6:37 am

I can’t speak about all the Native American tribes, but the Cherokees govern themselves very well. They take care of their own, and they pass out lots of money to white people in surrounding communities for various projects.

Of course, the population is made up of many Native Americans and others with Native American blood, so when the Cherokees make grants to white people, that money is also benefiting Native Americans.

The Cherokees, like any government, gets some bad apples in office occasionally, but the Cherokee people have managed to oust the bad leaders and replace them with good leaders, so far.

Wilma Mankiller was Chief of the Cherokees for quite some time. I think someone is making a movie about her life.

Timothy R Robinson
July 16, 2021 3:05 pm

A little off topic. If climate change causes sea levels to rise, will this increase the oceans biomass to absorb more co2? If climate change increases acid content in oceans, will the melting ice in ice packs neutralize the affect? I tried searching on this site, but the alarmist post only reviewed one but not the other.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Timothy R Robinson
July 16, 2021 3:18 pm

To your first question, no. Most ocean biomass is in the photic zone (where light penetrates to enable photosynthesis). At most 100-150 meters. SLR will not change that at all.

To your second question, also no. There are three parts. Sea ice exudes salt, salt enriched seawater is heavy and sinks, creating the thermohaline circulation. Land ice comes from evaporation, so there is no salt. When that melts into the ocean, it does slightly decrease salinity until mixed by waves.
But salinity has almost nothing to do with ocean pH. It is governed by dissolved CO2 and dissolved carbonates—so highly buffered. So the amount that doubled CO2 could ever increase surface ocean pH is at most about 0.18 pH. Just the latitudinal and seasonal biological activity (consuming dissolved CO2) causes it to vary annually by >1.8pH (see essay Shell Games in ebook Blowing Smoke for some details).

Timothy R Robinson
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 3:48 pm

Thank you. SLR will not change that at all.

Devils tower
July 16, 2021 3:42 pm

Yes they do have uranium and a lot of rare earth minerals.

Question is, how do they want to stay warm…

Devils tower
Reply to  Devils tower
July 16, 2021 4:14 pm
David Kamakaris
July 16, 2021 3:49 pm

Would Greenland be amenable to mining for the rare earth elements that are absolutely necessary to bring their green utopia to fruition?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  David Kamakaris
July 16, 2021 3:57 pm

Not so far. Nope. Not green.

David Kamakaris
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 16, 2021 4:02 pm

Figured as much.

And the beat goes on…….

Reply to  David Kamakaris
July 16, 2021 7:41 pm

And thorium….could we search for some thorium? One little MSR could handle 57000 people – no problemo.

July 16, 2021 4:21 pm

Those entrepreneurial development companies will be applauding. For every country that leaves the fossil fuel industry the Can Do people increase their market share. Without doing anything. How good is that👌😁

Reply to  Rasa
July 16, 2021 6:52 pm

Who is that investment group that is now buying up oil drills and infrastructure as traditional operators are exiting through shareholder activism?

IIRC there was a story in the Financial Times in this past week?

July 16, 2021 4:22 pm

Didn’t Trump want to buy this place?

Reply to  Alan
July 16, 2021 5:24 pm

That was Iceland, but they said it was not for sale before he made an official offer.

Reply to  DonM
July 16, 2021 6:25 pm

No, it was Greenland.
Iceland is an independent country. Scenic and wild, Absolutely Beautiful.
It would have been hilarious if the US Govt. offered to buy Iceland out from under the Icelanders. It would have been even more hilarious if Iceland said “Yes”.

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 16, 2021 4:54 pm

World’s largest island? I thought that would be Australia….

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 16, 2021 6:31 pm

Australia has it’s own tectonic plate, complete with continent, continental shelf, continental slope, and abyssal plain. That makes it a continent, not as island.

Reply to  TonyL
July 16, 2021 7:43 pm

A land mass completely surrounded by water, not connected to any other adjacent land masses is not an island?

Robert Alfred Taylor
Reply to  Mr.
July 17, 2021 5:31 pm

Ergo all continents (including Europe, Asia and Africa together and North, Central, and South America together) are islands. Tried to point that out in grade (primary) school.

July 16, 2021 5:45 pm

Greenland worried about global warming , and you wonder why aliens do not contact you

Reply to  Eben
July 17, 2021 6:32 am

I lived in Timmins Ontario during the winter of 76/77, I remember -40C quite often, even the occasional -60C at night. I am totally baffled that Canadians are worried about Global Warming! Canada would benefit greatly from some warmer temperatures (longer growing seasons), whatever the cause.

Jørgen F.
July 16, 2021 6:58 pm

…The funny thing is that the worlds nomade cultures has evolved as a consequence of the ever changing climate. Also in the arctic.
The climate change problem only arises among nomades when the grocery stores and the tele-masts are build.
A danish movie from the late 50s – Qivitoq – (Oscar nominated :-)) also coves that issue – and in the same period the danish government starts to move musk ox’ to the western parts of Greenland. If one sees the old documentaries on that subject it’s is also clear that climate change is one of reasons for that (succesful) experiment.

July 16, 2021 7:10 pm

World’s biggest island?
Australia’s land is approximated to be 7,741,220 square kilometers dwarfing Greenland’s cover of merely 2,166,086 square kilometers. Even after taking away Tasmania and Australia’s minor island, the main island of Australia is over 3 times bigger that Greenland.

Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 9:35 pm

As mentioned above, Australia is regarded as a continent. There are some semantics involved of course. One could argue that the Africa-Eurasia landmass is the world’s largest island. Generally the biggest landmass on a continental plate is regarded as the “continent”, and the other bits are “islands”, ergo Greenland (a smaller bit of the North American continent), is the world’s largest island, and PNG (a smaller bit of the Australian continent) is the second largest island. Also people forget that Antarctica is free-standing, and is larger than Australia.

Steve Case
Reply to  ChrisGeo
July 17, 2021 12:35 am

What, you couldn’t spell Papua New Guinea out? I had to look it up.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 17, 2021 1:49 pm

I was trying to figure out what an image file format had to do with continents…

Jean Parisot
July 16, 2021 7:50 pm

How does uranium contribute to climate change?

Joel O'Bryan
July 16, 2021 8:14 pm

Greenlanders are very much like the bulk of US Native Americans living on western US Reservations where they can subsist on handouts and free housing. High unemployment. Rampant drug and alcohol abuse. Low literacy. High death rates. Extremely high Type 2 Diabetes rates.
IOW, Socialism in action.

July 16, 2021 8:52 pm

Does Greenland have a Waffle House, 7-11, Starbucks, and a donuts shop?

Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  eyesonu
July 17, 2021 2:44 pm

How about a Kinkos?

Pat from kerbob
July 16, 2021 9:41 pm

Same as northern canada, almost 100% welfare based economy, with resulting addictions, suicide, crime, etc etc

All of these places only survive by burning diesel to generate electricity, without it they have hours to evacuate in winter

July 16, 2021 10:22 pm

I would think that of all the countries in the world, Greenland has the most to gain if climate change makes the Earth warmer. The island might even start living up to its name!

Russia and Canada would gain more arable land, but not more in proportion to their populations.

Bruce Cobb
July 17, 2021 3:36 am

Clearly, the government of Greenland is retarded. Sitting on what could be a vast source of wealth, which could substantially lift the living standards of their people, and choosing to do nothing? Retarded.

Giordano milton
July 17, 2021 4:44 am

The oil will still be there when the insanity runs it’s course. The people may not, though

Tom Abbott
July 17, 2021 6:22 am

Greenland should have sold themselves to Trump when they had the chance.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 17, 2021 7:07 am

Except it wasn’t really up to them, but rather Denmark. They just laughed at him.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 17, 2021 12:45 pm

Trump would have had that Greenland economy booming by now. Make Greenland Great!

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 17, 2021 1:36 pm

Instead they have chosen to make Greenland Greta!

Jørgen F.
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 19, 2021 7:06 am

…a stiff smile and then our prime minister lied on national tv.

The political power in Greenland is tied-up on being tough on independence – and in Denmark our parliament pretend that it is up to the people of Greenland to make the decision – and our prime minister made that assumption – again – when Trump made his offer. But it is not Greenlands decision to make – it requires a revision of the danish constitution. Which is hard to get through a referendum, so we haven’t had one for 70 years. And such a revision would never get passed if there was a remote chance that the people of Greenland would be as rich as Qatarians by mining or selling oil month after a seperation from Denmark.

The other thing Trump made clear by his offer – which was not new – was that Greenland would never be able to choose security alliance on their own after a break with Denmark. The US would require quite a lot here. And how a so big and geopolitical important nation with only 57000 people could ever meet such obligations and still be called a independant country is very hard to see. They can’t see it either I think – and I can’t see any difference in politics towards Greenland from the Biden administration – and it was the same with Hillary.

So what would they really gain in Greenland from being independant from Denmark? – Nothing.

So the elite of Greenland pretend to be pro seperation from Denmark – when the economy is ready – and then they take the money from Denmark , year after year, and close all opportunities that would make their economy grow and stop the money flow from Denmark. Basically the greenlandish elite operate as elite of the Gaza strip does. (Except from the violence -thank you!) But maintain an ever going political stalemate only to their own benefit.

So the real gordian knot here is not an independant Greenland it is how Denmark should react when the EU move towards a closer military union? Could Denmark then still be a EU member and remain a ‘united kingdom’? Will the US let us?

My guess is that the Kingdom of Denmark will end up as Norway and the UK. Outside the EU but in a looser Northatlantic trade union – and a very very close Northatlantic military and security union.

I really can’t see any other path…

Ben Vorlich
July 17, 2021 12:14 pm

Seems the Scandinavians are testing green ideology to the limit.

The closure of Sweden’s biggest cement factory on environmental grounds could cause up to 400,000 job losses and wipe out the country’s GDP growth, according to an alliance of construction bodies.

Work could grind to a halt on three-quarters of all house-building projects and the construction sector could lose more than 20 billion Swedish Kronor (SEK) per month.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 17, 2021 1:35 pm

Oh dear – and I was just beginning to warm a bit to Swedes (well Anders Tegnell anyway).

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
July 17, 2021 2:47 pm

But don’t wind turbines require lots of cement? Surely they’re not saying they are detrimental to the environment? Who’d have guessed?

very old white guy
July 18, 2021 4:16 am

Is there such a thing as a suicide gene?

July 19, 2021 12:40 am

And the morons on this website think it is called Greenland because it was once covered in forest.

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