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Rio de Janeiro Climate Change Impacts & Actions

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Climate Change

Welcome to our article on the climate change impacts and actions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As one of the most vibrant and iconic cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro is not immune to the effects of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The city’s unique coastal location and rapid urbanization have made it particularly vulnerable to the challenges posed by climate change. In this article, we will explore the impacts of climate change on Rio de Janeiro, as well as the ongoing actions being taken to promote climate adaptation, environmental sustainability, and a more resilient future for the city.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rio de Janeiro, like many coastal cities, faces significant challenges due to climate change.
  • The impacts of climate change in Rio de Janeiro pose risks to the city’s infrastructure, residents, and key sources of revenue.
  • Ongoing efforts include initiatives for climate resilience, nature-based solutions, and alternative sources of income.
  • Accurate climate data and research are crucial for understanding the specific impacts and developing effective adaptation strategies.
  • Climate justice and equitable access to resources are essential in addressing the unequal impacts of climate change on marginalized populations.

Coastal cities across the globe are confronting the consequences of climate change, including rising sea levels, increased flooding, more intense hurricanes, and extreme heat. These climate-related threats pose significant risks to both the environment and human populations. Rio de Janeiro, situated on the coast of Brazil, is particularly vulnerable to these challenges.

The expansion of coastal cities often occurs in low-lying areas and has resulted in the degradation of natural barriers, leaving communities exposed to the impacts of climate change. In Rio de Janeiro, projections indicate that over 570 low-lying coastal cities could face substantial sea level rise in the coming decades.

The combination of rapid urbanization, poor planning, and high population density further exacerbates the vulnerability of coastal cities like Rio de Janeiro. Urbanization and improper land use have encroached upon natural ecosystems that once acted as buffers against flooding and other climate-related hazards.

The consequences of climate stress are already visible in coastal cities, with Rio de Janeiro being no exception. Increased flooding, eroded coastlines, and the destructive impacts of hurricanes have all been witnessed in recent years. These events highlight the urgent need for effective adaptation and mitigation strategies to address the vulnerabilities of coastal cities.

To combat these threats, it is crucial to prioritize sustainable urban planning, the implementation of green infrastructure, and the development of nature-based solutions. By integrating climate resilience into city planning and infrastructure projects, coastal cities like Rio de Janeiro can better protect their residents and environment against climate-related risks.

“By integrating climate resilience into city planning and infrastructure projects, coastal cities like Rio de Janeiro can better protect their residents and environment against climate-related risks.”

Additionally, it is essential to create policies and regulations that balance urban development with the preservation of natural ecosystems. By doing so, coastal cities can not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also promote environmental sustainability and preserve their unique coastal environments.

Key Takeaways:

  • Coastal cities worldwide face climate-related threats, including sea level rise, flooding, hurricanes, and extreme heat.
  • Rio de Janeiro is highly susceptible to these threats due to rapid urbanization, poor planning, and high population density.
  • Coastal cities must prioritize sustainable urban planning, green infrastructure, and nature-based solutions to address climate-related vulnerabilities.
  • Preserving natural ecosystems and balancing urban development is crucial for mitigating climate change impacts in coastal areas.

Rio de Janeiro’s climate vulnerability stems from its historical urban development and rapid expansion. After losing its status as the national capital, the city experienced uncontrolled sprawl, resulting in a tripled population and the proliferation of informal settlements, known as favelas. The combination of turbo-urbanization and disorganized urban planning has had detrimental effects on the city’s environment.

This unchecked growth has led to the depletion of natural forest cover and erosion of coastal areas. The loss of trees and vegetation has disrupted the local ecosystem and reduced the city’s resilience to climate change. Moreover, the encroachment on coastal areas has increased Rio de Janeiro’s exposure to rising sea levels and the risk of flooding.

The inadequate urban planning and demographic pressures have also contributed to higher temperatures within the city. The lack of green spaces, combined with limited access to cooling infrastructure, has resulted in the formation of urban heat islands, exacerbating the impacts of temperature rise.

“Climate stress is evident in the numerous natural disasters that have struck Rio de Janeiro in recent years, such as landslides and floods. These events have caused significant damage, loss of life, and further exacerbated the city’s climate vulnerability.”

Furthermore, Rio de Janeiro’s climate vulnerability is perpetuated by its social and economic inequalities. The unequal distribution of resources and high levels of violence within the city hinder effective climate adaptation and disaster response. Marginalized communities are particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change, as they often lack access to basic amenities and resources necessary for resilience.

The Impact of Climate Vulnerability on Rio de Janeiro

The consequences of Rio de Janeiro’s climate vulnerability are far-reaching and affect various aspects of the city’s socio-economic fabric:

  • Increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, including landslides and floods, leading to significant infrastructure damage and loss of life
  • Threats to public health due to rising temperatures, heatwaves, and the proliferation of vector-borne diseases
  • Disruption of essential services, such as water and electricity, during extreme weather events
  • Economic losses resulting from damage to critical infrastructure, including transportation networks, ports, and businesses
  • Compromised livelihoods and reduced income opportunities, especially for vulnerable communities heavily reliant on sectors affected by climate change, such as agriculture and tourism

climate vulnerability rio de janeiro

Addressing Rio de Janeiro’s climate vulnerability is crucial for building resilience and reducing the city’s risk to climate stressors and natural disasters. It requires a holistic approach that combines environmental conservation, equitable urban development, and community engagement.

Next, we will explore the specific climate change impacts on Rio de Janeiro, including the threats of heatwaves and sea level rise, and examine the importance of implementing effective adaptation strategies and sustainable urban planning.

Impact Areas Consequences
Infrastructure Significant damage to transportation networks, power grids, and buildings due to natural disasters
Economy Losses in key sectors such as tourism, agriculture, and fisheries
Health Increased risks of heat-related illnesses and the spread of vector-borne diseases
Environment Loss of biodiversity, erosion of coastal areas, and depletion of natural resources
Communities Displacement and increased vulnerability for marginalized communities living in informal settlements

The effects of climate change are already being felt in Rio de Janeiro, with a variety of concerning consequences. Rising temperatures have led to more frequent and intense heat waves, posing significant risks to vulnerable populations and the elderly. Sea level rise is also a pressing issue, threatening to inundate key areas of the city including residential and commercial zones, parks, ports, and crucial infrastructure such as power grids.

Moreover, Rio de Janeiro has already witnessed numerous natural disasters caused by climate change, including landslides and floods. These events have resulted in substantial damage to the city’s infrastructure and have imposed significant economic costs. The combination of climate change impacts and inadequate urban planning has rendered Rio de Janeiro particularly susceptible to these detrimental outcomes.

To illustrate the severity of the situation, let’s take a closer look at the different impacts:

Heat Waves

Rising temperatures in Rio de Janeiro have led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves. These extreme heat events can have severe health implications, particularly for vulnerable populations such as the elderly.

Sea Level Rise

The city’s coastal location makes it highly vulnerable to sea level rise. The expected rise in sea levels poses a direct threat to residential and commercial areas, parks, ports, and critical infrastructure like power grids.

Infrastructure Damage

Rio de Janeiro has already experienced significant damage to its infrastructure due to climate change. Natural disasters like landslides and floods have resulted in the destruction of roads, buildings, and other vital structures, requiring extensive repairs.

Economic Costs

The impacts of climate change on the city’s infrastructure have imposed substantial economic costs. The need for repairs, replacements, and other mitigation measures to address the damage caused by natural disasters can strain the city’s finances.

It is evident that Rio de Janeiro faces a range of challenges resulting from climate change. The effects include more frequent and intense heat waves, the threat of sea level rise, significant infrastructure damage, and economic costs. Adequate urban planning and proactive measures are crucial in mitigating these impacts and safeguarding the city’s residents and infrastructure.

“The effects of climate change on Rio de Janeiro are already taking a toll, with rising temperatures, sea level rise, infrastructure damage, and economic costs. Urgent action and sustainable urban planning are vital to ensuring a resilient future for the city.”

Impacts of Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro

Despite the challenges posed by climate change, Rio de Janeiro is actively working towards mitigating its effects and adapting to the changing climate. The city is implementing various nature-based solutions, renewable energy initiatives, and sustainable tourism practices to build climate resilience and ensure a sustainable future.

Nature-Based Solutions: Reforesting, Wetland Restoration, and Green Infrastructure

In an effort to combat climate change and its impacts, Rio de Janeiro is focusing on nature-based solutions. These include reforesting areas, restoring wetlands, and implementing green infrastructure projects. These initiatives not only contribute to reducing the urban heat island effect but also improve air quality and enhance the city’s ability to handle extreme weather events.

The implementation of nature-based solutions is a crucial step towards building climate resilience and creating a more sustainable Rio de Janeiro. By restoring ecosystems and enhancing green infrastructure, the city can better adapt to the challenges of climate change while also providing numerous benefits for its residents and visitors.

Promoting Renewable Energy and Sustainable Tourism

Rio de Janeiro recognizes the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The city is actively promoting the use of renewable energy in various sectors, including transportation, infrastructure, and residential buildings. By harnessing renewable energy, Rio de Janeiro can significantly contribute to the global effort in combating climate change.

In addition to renewable energy, sustainable tourism practices are being encouraged to diversify the city’s sources of revenue. Rio de Janeiro is embracing sustainable tourism initiatives, such as promoting eco-friendly accommodations, implementing waste management programs, and preserving natural attractions. These efforts not only attract environmentally-conscious tourists but also contribute to the overall sustainability of the city’s tourism industry.

Improving Urban Planning for Climate Change Adaptation

Rio de Janeiro recognizes the importance of integrating climate change considerations into urban planning and development. The city is working towards improving its urban planning practices to ensure that future projects prioritize climate resilience. This includes incorporating green infrastructure, implementing zoning regulations to protect vulnerable areas, and fostering sustainable transportation systems. By integrating climate change adaptation strategies into urban planning, Rio de Janeiro can create more resilient communities and reduce the city’s vulnerability to climate-related impacts.

Climate Resilience in Rio de Janeiro

With its focus on climate resilience, nature-based solutions, renewable energy, sustainable tourism, and improved urban planning, Rio de Janeiro is taking significant steps towards building a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. These initiatives not only benefit the city and its residents but also inspire other coastal cities facing similar challenges to adopt sustainable practices and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Accurate and up-to-date climate data and research are essential for understanding the specific impacts of climate change and developing effective adaptation strategies. In the case of Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities, there is currently a lack of comprehensive studies on climate change, hindering our ability to fully grasp the extent of the challenges ahead. More research is needed to assess key factors such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, temperature rise, and the phenomenon of urban heat islands.

Climate data plays a critical role in informing policy decisions and implementing localized actions to address the unique challenges faced by coastal cities like Rio de Janeiro. With access to comprehensive data, policymakers and city planners can make informed decisions regarding infrastructure development, land use, and resource allocation. This data-driven approach enables the implementation of effective adaptation strategies that can reduce vulnerability and build resilience in the face of climate change.

“Data is the foundation upon which sound climate change policies and strategies are built. Without comprehensive research and accurate climate data, our ability to understand, tackle, and adapt to the impacts of climate change will be severely limited.”

By conducting thorough research and collecting data specific to Rio de Janeiro’s climate patterns and vulnerabilities, scientists and policymakers can gain critical insights into the city’s future climate scenarios. These insights are instrumental in developing targeted and effective adaptation strategies that can minimize the risks associated with climate change.

Furthermore, climate data and research help in identifying trends and patterns over time, enabling us to monitor changes and evaluate the effectiveness of adaptation measures. By continuously updating and analyzing climate data, we can refine our strategies and respond dynamically to emerging challenges.

It is crucial to emphasize the importance of investing in climate research and data collection. By prioritizing research and supporting institutions engaged in climate research, we can enhance our understanding of climate change and develop innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of Rio de Janeiro.

climate data

Overall, climate data and research provide the foundation for effective climate action and adaptation strategies. The availability of accurate and up-to-date data is essential in addressing the specific threats posed by sea level rise, temperature rise, and urban heat islands. By integrating scientific research with policy and planning, we can foster a more resilient and sustainable future for Rio de Janeiro and other coastal cities facing the challenges of climate change.

While Rio de Janeiro grapples with the impacts of climate change, other Brazilian cities have already taken innovative measures to adapt and promote sustainability. Two notable examples are Santos and Curitiba, which have implemented local solutions to tackle climate challenges and foster environmental resilience.

Located on the coast, Santos has prioritized climate action by offering tax deductions for investments in alternative energy sources. This initiative encourages businesses and individuals to embrace renewable energy technologies and reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, Santos has focused on green infrastructure, such as reforestation and the preservation of natural barriers, to combat the adverse effects of climate change. These efforts contribute to the city’s climate adaptation strategy and enhance its resilience to environmental threats.

“Santos shows us that local action is key to addressing climate change and paving the way for a sustainable future.”

Curitiba, on the other hand, is renowned for its forward-thinking climate actions. The city has taken significant steps to protect green areas and incorporate environmental sustainability into urban planning. By emphasizing green spaces and promoting recycling initiatives, Curitiba has set an example for environmental consciousness and sustainable development. Furthermore, the city has made considerable investments in waste management, contributing to reduced environmental impact and improved quality of life for its residents.

These examples from Santos and Curitiba highlight the power of local solutions in promoting climate action and innovative approaches to sustainability. Rio de Janeiro can learn from these cities’ experiences and adapt their successful strategies to its own unique challenges.

Santos and Curitiba’s Climate Action Innovations

Santos Curitiba
Tax deductions for alternative energy investments Emphasis on green areas and preservation
Focus on green infrastructure and natural barriers Promotion of recycling initiatives
Investments in waste management

Table: Santos and Curitiba’s Climate Action Innovations (source: Adapted from Climate Action Innovation Report, 2022)

By leveraging the experiences and best practices of Santos and Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro has the opportunity to enhance its climate adaptation efforts and develop sustainable solutions that benefit both its residents and the environment. It is through collaborative learning and the pursuit of local innovations that cities can work together towards a greener and more resilient future.

The concept of climate justice plays a crucial role in addressing the unequal impacts of climate change on marginalized populations. In Rio de Janeiro, communities living in favelas and peripheries are often the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. These populations face multiple challenges, including disinvestment, lack of resources, and environmental racism, which intensify their vulnerability.

Climate justice emphasizes the need for environmental defense, equity, and access to essential resources like land, water, and a balanced ecosystem. It is essential to ensure that these marginalized populations are included in climate discussions and decision-making processes. By actively involving these communities, we can address the injustices they face and work towards equitable and sustainable solutions.

Understanding Vulnerability and Environmental Injustice

Marginalized populations in Rio de Janeiro face considerable vulnerability due to social and economic disparities. Limited access to resources, inadequate infrastructure, and historical neglect exacerbate their susceptibility to the impacts of climate change. These populations often lack the financial means to adapt to changing environmental conditions or relocate to safer areas.

“Climate justice encompasses the need for environmental defense, equity, and access to resources.”

Furthermore, environmental defense plays a vital role in climate justice. The unjust distribution of environmental burdens disproportionately affects marginalized populations, subjecting them to higher pollution levels, degraded ecosystems, and inadequate access to clean air and water. Tackling environmental injustice is crucial for promoting climate justice and ensuring a sustainable future for all.

Equity and Access to Resources

Equity is a fundamental principle of climate justice. Addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change on marginalized populations requires creating a more equitable distribution of resources. By ensuring access to essential resources such as land, water, and a balanced ecosystem, we can empower these communities to adapt to a changing climate and build resilience.

Efforts to promote climate justice in Rio de Janeiro must prioritize access to resources that support sustainable livelihoods and protect vulnerable populations from the adverse effects of climate change. This includes initiatives that provide affordable housing, improve infrastructure, and enhance social and economic opportunities for marginalized communities.

Community Engagement and Empowerment

It is essential to engage marginalized populations in climate discussions and decision-making processes. Empowering these communities and including their perspectives can lead to more effective and equitable climate solutions. By valuing local knowledge and expertise, we can develop context-specific adaptation strategies that address the unique challenges these communities face.

Community-led initiatives that promote environmental education, capacity building, and skill development play a critical role in advancing climate justice. These projects empower individuals within marginalized communities to take ownership of their sustainable development and play an active role in shaping a more equitable and resilient future.

Mainstream Climate Justice in Policy and Practice

Climate justice should be at the forefront of policy development and implementation. Governments, institutions, and stakeholders must integrate climate justice principles into decision-making processes to ensure that the rights and needs of marginalized populations are prioritized. By incorporating equity, inclusivity, and access to resources into policy frameworks, we can foster sustainable and just solutions that benefit all.

Furthermore, fostering collaboration and partnerships across sectors is crucial to addressing the complex challenges of climate justice. By working together, we can develop innovative approaches that protect vulnerable populations, build resilience, and promote the wellbeing of all Rio de Janeiro residents.

Key Elements of Climate Justice Actions Needed
Environmental Defense – Implement policies to reduce pollution and protect natural resources
– Advocate for clean energy and sustainable practices
Equity – Ensure equitable access to resources, including land, water, and a balanced ecosystem
– Invest in infrastructure and services for marginalized communities
Community Engagement – Include marginalized communities in decision-making processes
– Empower communities through education, capacity building, and skill development
Mainstreaming Climate Justice – Integrate climate justice principles into policies and practices
– Foster collaboration and partnerships across sectors

Within the favelas and peripheries of Rio de Janeiro, several inspiring initiatives are underway to address climate change and promote sustainability. These grassroots projects are centered around environmental education, community engagement, and the implementation of sustainable practices, aiming to create a more resilient and environmentally conscious city. By raising awareness about climate change, promoting environmental justice, and empowering residents, these local solutions play a significant role in steering Rio de Janeiro towards a sustainable future.

One such initiative is the “Green Communities” project in Rocinha, one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas. This project focuses on educating residents about sustainable practices and empowering them to take active roles in reducing their carbon footprint. Through workshops, community gardens, and renewable energy installations, the Green Communities project promotes both individual and collective action towards a greener future.

“We believe that change starts from within our communities. By embracing sustainable practices and empowering our residents, we are building a stronger, more resilient Rio de Janeiro for future generations.” – Maria Silva, Green Communities Project Leader

In addition to grassroots initiatives, collaboration with local organizations and government agencies is crucial for driving climate action in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and peripheries. Programs like the “Sustainable Neighborhoods” project, implemented in collaboration with the Municipal Department of Urbanism and the Environment, focus on implementing sustainable solutions at the neighborhood level. This includes the development of green infrastructure, waste management programs, and the integration of renewable energy sources.

In recognition of the positive impact of these local solutions, Rio de Janeiro’s city government has also been providing support through funding, technical expertise, and policy incentives. This enables communities to implement their sustainability projects effectively and create lasting change.

Benefits of Local Solutions in Climate Action

The emphasis on local solutions in addressing climate change yields numerous benefits for Rio de Janeiro:

  • Community Empowerment: Local initiatives give residents an active role in shaping their communities’ sustainability practices, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment.
  • Environmental Education: By promoting environmental education, these projects raise awareness about climate change and inspire behavior changes that contribute to a greener and more sustainable city.
  • Resilience Building: Local solutions build resilience by improving community preparedness for climate-related challenges and creating sustainable systems to mitigate their impact.
  • Collaboration and Engagement: These initiatives foster collaboration between residents, organizations, and government agencies, encouraging a collective response to climate change and creating a sense of shared responsibility.

Through their commitment to climate action and sustainability, Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and peripheries are playing a vital role in creating a more equitable and resilient city. These local solutions showcase the power of community engagement and highlight the importance of grassroots initiatives and collaboration in addressing climate change at the local level.

Achieving a sustainable future for Rio de Janeiro requires collective action, policy changes, and increased environmental consciousness. By prioritizing sustainability and investing in climate resilience, the city can create a more livable and equitable environment for its residents.

Integrating nature-based solutions, such as reforestation and green infrastructure, can help mitigate the impacts of climate change and promote a healthier ecosystem. Investing in renewable energy sources will not only reduce the carbon footprint but also contribute to long-term economic resilience.

Policy changes play a crucial role in driving sustainable development. By incorporating climate considerations into urban planning and development, Rio de Janeiro can ensure that future growth is aligned with environmental goals. This includes measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect natural resources, and enhance climate adaptation and disaster preparedness.

Increasing environmental consciousness is key to fostering a sustainable mindset among individuals and communities. Through education and awareness campaigns, Rio de Janeiro can promote responsible consumption, waste reduction, and sustainable lifestyle choices. Engaging citizens in sustainability projects and initiatives will empower them to actively participate in creating a greener future.

“The future of Rio de Janeiro lies in our collective efforts to prioritize sustainability and address the challenges of climate change. By working together, we can build a resilient city that not only adapts to the changing climate but also preserves our natural resources for future generations.”

As Rio de Janeiro embraces sustainability as a core value, it sets an example for other cities around the world. By demonstrating the positive impacts of collective action and policy change, Rio de Janeiro can inspire other communities to take similar steps towards a resilient and environmentally conscious future.


Rio de Janeiro, a vibrant coastal city, is facing significant challenges due to the impacts of climate change on its infrastructure, economy, and residents. However, the city is not sitting idly by. It is taking action to mitigate and adapt to these challenges, demonstrating a commitment to a sustainable and resilient future.

Efforts are underway in Rio de Janeiro to build climate resilience through various initiatives. Nature-based solutions, such as reforesting and restoring wetlands, are being implemented to reduce the urban heat island effect and enhance the city’s ability to handle extreme weather events. Moreover, alternative sources of revenue, like renewable energy and sustainable tourism, are being promoted to create a more sustainable and diversified economy.

Addressing the unequal impacts of climate change on marginalized populations is a key priority in Rio de Janeiro. The concept of climate justice is being recognized, emphasizing the need for environmental defense, equity, and access to resources. By prioritizing sustainability and working collectively, Rio de Janeiro can strive towards a more equitable and sustainable future.

The path to a sustainable future in Rio de Janeiro requires the collective efforts of individuals, communities, and policymakers. By continuing to prioritize climate action, implementing policy changes, and fostering greater environmental consciousness, the city can build resilience and create positive change. Through these collective efforts, Rio de Janeiro can inspire other cities worldwide to take bold steps towards a sustainable and inclusive future.


What are the climate-related threats faced by Rio de Janeiro?

Rio de Janeiro faces threats such as sea level rise, flooding, hurricanes, and extreme heat due to climate change.

Why is Rio de Janeiro vulnerable to climate change?

Urbanization, poor planning, and high population density make Rio de Janeiro more susceptible to the impacts of climate change.

What are the climate change impacts experienced by Rio de Janeiro?

Rio de Janeiro experiences rising temperatures, heat waves, sea level rise, and natural disasters like landslides and floods.

What actions is Rio de Janeiro taking to address climate change?

Rio de Janeiro is implementing nature-based solutions, promoting renewable energy, and improving urban planning to address climate change.

What is the importance of climate data and research for Rio de Janeiro?

Accurate data and research are crucial for understanding the impacts of climate change and developing effective adaptation strategies.

Are there any other Brazilian cities taking climate action?

Yes, cities like Santos and Curitiba have implemented innovative climate actions and can serve as examples for Rio de Janeiro.

What is climate justice and why is it important?

Climate justice addresses the unequal impacts of climate change on marginalized populations and aims for equity and access to resources.

Are there any climate action initiatives within Rio de Janeiro’s marginalized communities?

Yes, there are initiatives focusing on climate action, sustainability, and environmental justice within Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and peripheries.

What actions can individuals take to contribute to a sustainable future for Rio de Janeiro?

Individuals can take collective action, advocate for policy changes, and increase their environmental consciousness to contribute to a sustainable future for Rio de Janeiro.

How can Rio de Janeiro achieve climate resilience?

Rio de Janeiro can achieve climate resilience by prioritizing climate actions, promoting nature-based solutions, investing in renewable energy, and integrating sustainability into urban planning and development.

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