National Geographic Daily News
An illustration of the surface of Venus.

Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system, may have experienced runaway greenhouse effect early in its history.

Illustration by Detlev van Ravenswaay, Science Source

Robert Kunzig

National Geographic

Published July 29, 2013

In his book Storms of my Grandchildren, noted climate scientist James Hansen issued the following warning: "[I]f we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty."

Venus has a thick atmosphere that is 96.5 percent carbon dioxide, which keeps its surface at nearly 900°F (482°C). The planet's water boiled off to space long ago. Could that really happen on Earth, which is farther from the sun, and where the CO2 level is just now rising past 400 parts per million?

The key to the argument is a well-documented positive feedback loop. As carbon dioxide warms the planet through the greenhouse effect, more water evaporates from the ocean—which amplifies the warming, because water vapor is a greenhouse gas too. That positive feedback is happening now. Hansen argues that fossil-fuel burning could cause the process to run out of control, vaporizing the entire ocean and sterilizing the planet.

Respected as Hansen is, the argument hasn't convinced climate scientists who specialize in the evolution of planetary atmospheres. During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 56 million years ago, a huge natural spike in CO2 sent temperatures on Earth soaring—but life went on and the ocean remained intact.

"I think you can say we're still safe against the Venus syndrome," says Raymond Pierrehumbert of the University of Chicago. "If we were going to run away, we'd probably have done it during the PETM."

In the past few years, however, physicists have been training supercomputers on the lowly water molecule, calculating its properties from first principles—and finding that it absorbs more radiation at more wavelengths than they'd realized before. In a paper published this week in Nature Geosciences, those calculations have rippled into a simple climate model. The paper's conclusion contains this slightly unsettling sentence: "The runaway greenhouse may be much easier to initiate than previously thought."

National Geographic asked the lead author, Colin Goldblatt of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, to explain.

In an earlier paper, published just last year, you wrote that "it is unlikely to be possible, even in principle, to trigger a runaway greenhouse."

Yeah—and I was wrong! I was plain wrong then.

What do you say now?

It used to be thought that a runaway greenhouse was not theoretically possible for Earth with its present amount of sunlight. We've shown that, to the contrary, it is theoretically possible. That doesn't mean it's going to happen—but it's theoretically possible.

What changed?

The models we had were underestimating the amount of radiation that would be absorbed in a water-vapor-rich atmosphere.

How does that connect to the runaway greenhouse?

Going back to absolute basics—the surface of the Earth emits radiation, and some of that radiation gets absorbed in the atmosphere by gases like CO2 and water vapor. This means less radiation can get out to space than if there were no greenhouse atmosphere. Or conversely, to get the same amount of radiation out to space to balance the energy you're getting from the sun, the surface needs to be hotter. That's what's happening now: Because we're making the greenhouse effect stronger, the Earth is heating up so it will come back into balance.

Now, if you put enough water vapor in the atmosphere, any radiation from the surface will get absorbed before it gets out to space—all of it, everything. Only the upper part of the atmosphere can emit radiation to space. So it turns out there's a fixed amount of radiation you can emit to space once you have enough water vapor.

It's like if you take a layer of tinted glass—one layer, you'll be able to see through. But if you stack up 10, 20, or 100 layers, you can't see through it.

So the runaway greenhouse effect happens when the amount of incoming solar radiation exceeds this fixed limit?

Exactly. It happens when you absorb more sunlight than you can emit thermal radiation. And what I've shown here, which is new, is that the limit on how much radiation Earth can get out to space is smaller than we previously thought. And the amount of sunlight that will be absorbed in a water-vapor-rich atmosphere is bigger than we previously thought. So the implication for the Earth now is that it is possible to absorb more sunlight than you could emit to space from a water-vapor-rich atmosphere.

But your model does not consider the moderating effect of clouds.

That's correct. You start off with the simplest model you can, and then you build in complexity. We've calculated the maximum amount of sunlight Earth will absorb and the maximum amount of thermal radiation it will emit. So the next step will be to do some modeling with clouds in, which will probably modify the answers.

Clouds reflect sunlight, but if you put them high enough in the atmosphere, they'll also have a greenhouse effect. On Earth today, the reflection effect dominates—clouds overall have a cooling effect.

What does your work say about Hansen's warning?

What my results show is that if you put about ten times as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as you would get from burning all the coal, oil, and gas—about 30,000 parts per million—then you could cause a runaway greenhouse today. So burning all the fossil fuels won't give us a runaway greenhouse. However, the consequences will still be dire. It won't sterilize the planet, but it might topple Western civilization. There are no theoretical obstacles to that.

What does Venus teach us?

Because Venus is nearer the sun, it gets more energy from the sun than we do—it's like standing nearer the campfire. We think Venus experienced this runaway greenhouse early in its history. Venus's past is Earth's future.

The sun increases its luminosity slowly with time. At the beginning of the solar system, the sun was only 70 percent as bright as it is now. It's going to keep getting brighter. Given that the runaway greenhouse happens when there's more solar radiation absorbed than we can emit thermal radiation, it's just going to happen.

When?

In somewhere between half a billion and a billion years.

At the end of your 2012 paper, you suggested we might forestall that by moving Earth's orbit farther from the sun.

I put that in as a little joke—as a little nod to Don Korycansky, an astronomer. When Don first proposed that you could just move the Earth out with gravity assists from asteroids, he ended up on the Daily Show talking about it.

As a species we are technologically adolescent at the moment. If we get through adolescence, if we get through the next couple of hundred years alive, as a mature species who is not screwing up the planet that we live on, and then if you're talking about on timescales of hundreds of millions of years—how are we going to keep our planet alive? Then I think that's the kind of thing you might start to think about.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

94 comments
Melanie R.
Melanie R.

I know nothing of weather patterns and climate.  It seems to me that earth is going through a regional swap.  Warmer climates cooling and colder climates warming.   We have our seasons, maybe earth has her own too.  Also think that maybe because of all this, slowly over time we will have more Continental Drifts.  But that is just what I think,, again I'm no scientist nor do I have a degree.  

and to: 


Chris Crawford2 days ago

@Mark Goldes I'm sorry, but perpetual motion machines have been proposed for many years, and none has ever worked. That's because they violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  

(((((((The Bumble defies a law of Physics, nothing is set in stone... well maybe a fossil or two.))))))   ; )   The more knowledge and understanding that we gain of things we don't know, alters what we thought we knew.

Mark Goldes
Mark Goldes

Fossil fuels can be left behind much more rapidly than might be imagined.

Revolutionary new technologies are en-route that can turn future cars into power plants, able to sell electricity when suitably parked. No wires needed. Cars, truck and buses might even pay for themselves.

Since these are hard to believe breakthroughs, a means has been required to increase support for the best of them.

An engine has been invented that needs no fuel. It could trigger a perpetual commotion.

See NO FUEL ENGINE at www.aesopinstitute.org

Since these engines will not get hot, after a prototype is validated by an independent lab, small plastic desktop piston engines are planned that will run a radio and recharge cell phones.

Metal versions are expected to power homes 24/7 and replace diesel generators. They might even provide on-board recharge for electric cars.

Making the "impossible" possible will open a surprisingly practical path to rapid reduction in the need for fossil fuels.

John Debar
John Debar

A recently released survey of almost 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers written by 29,000 scientists over the past 20 years found that 97.1% of climate scientists agreed that climate change is happening and humans are the cause.

I just want to point this out, as most of the climate change deniers posting their rants on this site are most likely lacking an education in science. I will also guess that 99% of the deniers watch FOX "News" programming, Pat Robertson, and listen to Rush Limbaugh. In conclusion, I am led to believe that most of the deniers are ignorant souls who lack the mental capacity to see the whole picture and to think for themselves.

You have not angered me the slightest concerning your "beliefs" in scientific evidence. It's your willful ignorance that gets to me the most.

craig hill
craig hill

We can't survive the nest-killing spree we've been on for over 200 years. We are the only species CAPABLE of destroying whole ecosystems and show zero interst in stopping any of it, and the childish adults herein think we're going to be around in half a thousand years to f*** up the planet even further by changing its orbit when needed in 1/2 billion years?  Dream on, idiots. We, not the Sun, are taking down life on Earth as we know it this century.  Come up with a plan to stop us first. Hell, start recognizing it, which is mission f***ing impossible.

David Pruett
David Pruett

To those who claim that climate change is a "political agenda," I'm  really curious - what is the motivation?


I mean I totally understand the motivation for climate change deniers. The steps necessary to reduce man-made greenhouse gasses is costly, and threatens the existence of certain industries that are extremely profitable - billions of dollars in profits are at stake. That's a pretty strong motivation to deny, and spend a lot of time and resources discrediting science and misinforming the public.

But on the flip-side, let's assume that hundreds of climate scientists and researchers, all over the planet, are somehow conspiring to lie to the world - what is their motivation?  Profit?  Because we know how scientists are always getting showered with billion dollar research grants and then blowing the money on mansions and yachts, right?

These aren't people getting rich, or getting famous. They're not getting billion dollar grants. They don't have millions of dollars at their disposal to hire lobbyists and run smear campaigns. If they are right, maybe they help save the planet  (and they still wouldn't be famous). If they're wrong, they lose their reputation, which is the only thing a scientist really has.

To put it another way - when's the last time a scientist had an oil rig explode and dump tons of crude on a coastline and then try to deny, cover up, lie and screw people over? When's the last time a scientist dropped toxic chemicals into a landfill and then sold the land to a developer to build houses on?

Why would you trust the word of the companies that do those kinds of things to protect their profits, over scientists who have no profits to protect? 

I mean maybe you're right - maybe all these oil companies, speculators, and magnates are all just misunderstood sweethearts. Maybe these scientists all over the world are crooked conspirators. But I've yet to see a single climate change denier who could provide verifiable data from a reputable source to support that hypothesis.

Jack Richardson
Jack Richardson

Its very simple folks. Venus is roughly half the distance from the Sun that Earth is. Solar radiation diminishes according to the inverse cube law. At twice the distance, you get 1/8th of the radiation. Therefore Venus is getting WAY more solar radiation than the earth. Venus would be a molten ball of slag with or without an atmosphere. Any attempt to blame the heat on Venus on its atmosphere is sensationalistic headline grabbing h0rse-cr@p. When you base your arguments for climate change on easily exposed lies, you just lose credibility in the long run. http://www.space.com/21346-venus-water-earth-sun-explained.html

Jack Richardson
Jack Richardson

Its very simple folks. Venus is roughly half the distance from the Sun that Earth is. Solar radiation diminishes according to the inverse cube law. At twice the distance, you get 1/8th of the radiation. Therefore Venus is getting WAY more solar radiation than the earth. Venus would be a molten ball of slag with or without an atmosphere. Any attempt to blame the heat on Venus on its atmosphere is sensationalistic headline grabbing h0rse-cr@p. When you base your arguments for climate change on easily exposed lies, you just lose credibility in the long run. http://www.space.com/21346-venus-water-earth-sun-explained.html

Dora Smith
Dora Smith

At I think it's the end-Cambrian extinction, a runaway greenhouse effect caused by volcanic activity, whose effects on the climate melted frozen methane from the ocean floors, wiped out 95% of life on earth.  But hey, life went on.


Are you in league with John Boehner?

Roger Hill
Roger Hill

More commentary by "couch pseudo" climate scientists who are moronic in their dismissal on 100 levels.  You need to buy clown suits you are such fools! Nothing lived in PETM except in bottom of the ocean you ignorant tools for the oil and gas industries "muddy water campaign". We have not even acknowledged 0.8 C warming and what is happening to extreme in weather, jet stream storm tracks, blocking highs and the like, let alone - let alone 4,5,6 C warming well under runaway global warming levels I might add. Where does the food and health system fail on the way but not quite runaway global warming? Purveyors who dismiss because they looked up a few internet facts should not masquerade as climate scientists and chime in with their arrogant non scientific findings.

Roger Hill
Roger Hill

More commentary by "couch pseudo" climate scientists who are moronic in their dismissal on 100 levels.  You need to buy clown suits you are such fools! Nothing lived in PETM except in bottom of the ocean you ignorant tools for the oil and gas industries "muddy water campaign". We have not even acknowledged 0.8 C warming and what is happening to extreme in weather, jet stream storm tracks, blocking highs and the like, let alone - let alone 4,5,6 C warming well under runaway global warming levels I might add. Where does the food and health system fail on the way but not quite runaway global warming? Purveyors who dismiss because they looked up a few internet facts should not masquerade as climate scientists and chime in with their arrogant non scientific findings.

Bill Weronko
Bill Weronko

What absolute nonsense!

Throughout geologic history CO2 levels have been significantly higher than they are today.The Earth never turned into Venus when atmospheric CO2 was many times what it is today.How they can publish this utter sky is falling bull is truly extraordinary.

Conwaythe Contaminationist
Conwaythe Contaminationist

Who cares if the Earth's oceans will boil away a billion years from now?

The race of man will be long extinct by the time that happens.

Michael Madden
Michael Madden

More nonsense from National Geographic.  I've been a member since 1963 but will probably give it up soon.  Perhaps this kind of thinking and lack of inquiry is all that our universities are turning out these days. 

Dave Wilcox
Dave Wilcox

National Geographic used to be a respectable publication until its editorial staff got overrun by the same antihumanists and nihilists that are spouting the anthropogenic climate change nonsense that's being rammed into every orifice for the last decade.  Shame on you!!

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Mark Goldes I'm sorry, but perpetual motion machines have been proposed for many years, and none has ever worked. That's because they violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. 

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Babu Ranganathan Advisory to readers: Mr. Ranganathan posts this message on just about every discussion that mentions the phrase "global warming". He disappears after posting it, making no effort to defend his manifestly false claims. Consider it to be a form of spam.

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@John Debar False. The 97.1% of precisely 70 climate scientists who voted for continued grants do not represent a scientific consensus. Furthermore, the data are unimpeachable: the 5- and 10-year average temps have been declining since 2005. That fact that you are unaware of this demonstrates conclusively that you are, contrary to your delusional beliefs, utterly ignorant of the scientific method.

Andrew Allison
Andrew Allison

@John DebarFact check: "A recently released survey of almost 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers written by 29,000 scientists over the past 20 years found that of the 4,000 or so that took a position on the evidence for climate change, 97.1% agreed that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity."

Note that only 4000 scientists took a position on the evidence for climate change and, surprise, surprise, 97% of them voted for job security.

Let's put the myth of 97% of scientists to bed once and for all. http://www.theclimategatebook.com/busting-the-97-myth/


steve sortino
steve sortino

@John Debar You are misquoting the study, although the sentiment is correct.  The other comments are not helpful, as many conservatives support AGW, but some wackos make headlines, admittedly.  Additionally, I gather info from a variety of news sources, and I find that all of them are slanted.  You must be open to that possibility, or you risk drinking the Kool-Aid of a certain network.

craig hill
craig hill

@David Pruett asked '...what is the motivation?' 

Short-term profiteering by the monkeyminds in control of the planet's economy.  Next question.

steve sortino
steve sortino

@David Pruett I think you're not aware of a lot of points on both sides of the issue.  It took me years of research to gain some insight into the numerous aspects.  Put simply, you've got good science pointing out AGW, but far too little response on the part of politicians and people around the world.  This leads to more exaggerated claims by the warmists, fueling the claims of the doubters, and both yell louder about their points.  But yes, both sides have a tremendous amount to gain.  And there ARE billions in grants, studies and reputations.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Jack Richardson First, it's an inverse SQUARE law, not an inverse cube law. Second, Venus is NOT twice as close to the sun; the radius of its orbit is 1.08 * 10^11 m, while the radius of the earth's orbit is 1.50 * 10^11 m. Therefore, Venus receives just under twice as much solar radiation. But that doesn't mean that its temperature is twice as great as the earth's; Stefan-Boltzmann equation leads us to conclude that its temperature should be only 18% higher than the earth's. This is measured in absolute terms. BUT the earth's temperature is also higher because of its own greenhouse effect. The net result of this is that Venus' blackbody temperature should be about 120ºF. But it is much higher because of its greenhouse effect.

Roger Hill
Roger Hill

@Jack Richardson  

Jack, you see you have proved my point brilliantly.on why people should not pay any attention to  pseudo arm-char scientists claiming this and that such thing.  

Jack did you know that Mercury - which is the closet planet to the sun - is COOLER than Venus. Grab the clown suit.  

Guess why Venus is warmer???  any guesses anyone?. 

Because its filled with a carbon dioxide atmosphere and with too much CO2 it greenhouses exponentially! 

CO2 when too much warms the planet. We like the sweet spot - the Holocene epoch - where man and civilization developed, roughly below 350 million parts, but  better yet 280 ppms before the industrial revolution. That is where s "stable" climate is. Not at 400 ppms and rising. We need to stop holt immediately get off of fossil fuels ASAP or we are all cooked!  Because we are taking it out of the ground burning it as energy and blowing it into atmosphere.with many commentators here wrongly expecting any results. Mind boggling is an understatement!

 

Roger Hill
Roger Hill

@Dora Smith  

Well said - what is astounding is the "chosen form of retardation" that so many express - makes me believe there is just no way we'll ever be pro-active  and only reactive will be the end of us. Happy Shiny people holding hands Syndrome

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Ryan Rainey There's no conflict between the two stories. One talks about early conditions on Venus and the loss of its water vapor. This one talks about the role of CO2 in elevating its temperature. Two different issues with little connection.

steve sortino
steve sortino

@Roger Hill There is something wrong with your diatribe - seems like it was translated from another language; many spelling and grammar errors.  Foreigners have been funded to insert comments into comment pages to stir up controversy, and I suspect you are one of those, unless you truly cannot speak English.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Bill Weronko "Throughout geologic history CO2 levels have been significantly higher than they are today." That's not true. At times CO2 levels have been lower than they are now. And when they were higher, temperatures were higher. There have been times when CO2 levels and temperatures were MUCH higher than they are today.

Todd Butson
Todd Butson

@Bill Weronko You know what gets me?    How people like you just deny deny deny that anything like this could ever happen to this little blue marble that is so small and insignificant in the infinite area of galaxies and space..


It is like people like you think this planet is IMMUNE to all of this stuff that happens EVERY DAY in probably thousands of locations throughout the myriad of space, galaxies, solar systems and planets that we cannot even imagine


Are  you really naive enough to think this planet can never have a cataclysmic event... a NATURAL event just like every single other planet in the universe can have or experience?


No one is saying it will happen today, tomorrow or next year.  What we are saying is it WILL Happen.  Someday, this planet will again experience a major event that will destroy it.


And if you look at other creatures that destroy the area they are resident in (ants, termites, forest destroying beetles, and MANY other invasive species), you can see the impact on that local.... and deduce that, although we may not CAUSE the event, we sure as heck CAN and DO have an impact on the speed of it, the seriousness of it and the impact of it on the Earth.


Some of you people just do not get it..   Naturally things will happen as they have before.  BUT MAN IS and DOES have an impact on our environment and there is no way YOU nor anyone else can say exactly what that impact WILL be.


I am not a scientist nor a conspiracy type person.  But what I AM is a person with common sense that tells me all the things we humans do, all the pollution, all the deforestation, all the trash and radioactivity we release into the oceans.. . COMMON SENSE tells me it DOES have an impact on this VERY SMALL planet and over time, just like erosion, all that impact DOES change things.

steve sortino
steve sortino

@Michael Madden Agreed - normally I point out one or two weak points in a poor article, but this one is riddled with speculation and lack of science.  I got a good laugh, though!  These articles are valuable, though, and I collect them, so that I can show others what science can become if left unchallenged.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Dave Wilcox What you call 'nonsense', scientists call 'science'. And by claiming that you know more about climatology than the vast majority of climatologists, as well as the National Academy of Sciences, you demonstrate breathtaking egotism.

John Debar
John Debar

@steve sortinoI am not quoting verbatim, summarizing. Got to make it brief! I might be a little off on the 29,000 +/-

97% 

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Walter Ziobro @David Pruett How do you know this? Is there some secret conspiracy that you have penetrated? Can you offer us the secret documents outlining their plan to control the world? 

Or are you just making it all up?

steve sortino
steve sortino

@craig hill @David Pruett Craig:  if you're unaware of why professors have their PhD candidates work on papers, or why gore, mann, pielke and others are obsessed with their reputations, then you're only looking at one side of the issue.  Also, oil companies are far less powerful in this argument than you might believe.  Sadly, resistance to change and laziness play a big part.

Shawn Oehlke
Shawn Oehlke

@Roger Hill @Jack Richardson Roger, just wondering if you are a scientist? I don't disagree that there is global warming nor do I disagree that technology must change radically to be more sustainable. I, myself, am developing a lighting system that  I have already demonstrated can distribute light efficiently enough to consume 85% less energy for the same light output. I have been quite surprised t the resistance of both corporate and academia to my proposal and demo. I am aware that on one level corporate interests and academia interests disagree dramatically as you have pointed out, but politics trumps all and much of the funding for academia comes from the same corporate entities they disagree with. At this level, as I have experienced, they find common ground to stifle innovation. From the academia side it is stifled because the idea wasn't theirs. From the corporate level it is because of the same reason plus many others including the level of disruptiveness from what they already manufacture or supply resources to. As one other person mentioned here, change is disruptive and resisted by most.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@steve sortino @Roger Hill Who is the mysterious conspiracy funding these foreigners? Why aren't they smart enough to fund people with decent English skills? How can they benefit from this activity? And have you checked under your bed to see if they've planted a spy there?

steve sortino
steve sortino

@Todd Butson @Bill Weronko Todd: I think Bill's point was not that global warming is happening but that some claims are exaggerated for personal gain.  That has definitely been the case, and it sets back the AGW cause.

steve sortino
steve sortino

@Chris Crawford @Dave Wilcox Chris: please don't support wild speculation and give it the same footing as the good climate scientists.  No one is denying the warming going on - just the poor study here.

Gary Frank
Gary Frank

@Chris Crawford@Dave Wilcox 

From the article above:

"But your model does not consider the moderating effect of clouds.  That's correct. You start off with the simplest model you can. ...So the next step will be to..."

The theory presented in this article is the hypothesis phase of the scientific method, not a scientific conclusion

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@steve sortino @craig hill @David Pruett The work habits of professors do not support your claims of a conspiracy, and the desire to advance one's reputation is a universal human trait. While fossil fuel companies may not be 'powerful', they certainly do spend vast quantities of money attempting to sow confusion about the science of climate change.

steve sortino
steve sortino

@Chris Crawford @steve sortino @Michael Madden No, I guess not, I trust the system to do that.  I still enjoy collecting the stories, though.  I do it with bogus financial articles, too.  Don't get me wrong, I'm talking about a minority of science articles.  In the financial world, bogus articles are far more prevalent, and are rarely challenge, because they really don't have a process to adhere to.

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@steve sortino @Chris Crawford @Dave Wilcox Apparently you've not participated in academic peer review. I've been on both sides, and papers are not accepted for publication in reputable journals unless they meet fairly high standards of scientific rigor.

Passing peer review is not the last word; it means merely that the paper has no glaring errors. The next step is the response from the community. Some papers are raked over the coals after publication and pretty much discredited. The final step is citation count; if the paper is cited in many other papers, then it is clearly a solid, useful contribution to the literature.

steve sortino
steve sortino

@Chris Crawford @steve sortino @Dave Wilcox Yes, I have.  And I've never heard the term "passed peer review".  You iteratively go back to your best reviewers until you're satisfied with your paper.  Many of them will not agree with your final paper, but they still reviewed and gave you redlines.  I given over 1000 comments on a paper, of which only 1/3 were incorporated.  I still went on the list of reviewers - it's not a big deal - just science.  One of the weak points of peer review is that you get to pick your own reviewers, as illustrated by the IPCC. 

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Randal Jones @Chris Crawford I presume that you know enough of the science to judge it. So, what degrees do you have? Have you read IPCC AR4 WG1? Did you understand it? Do you regularly read any of the literature in the field? What's your personal opinion on the value of climate sensitivity that we should be using?

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