Climate Change Policies

Combatting climate change is said to be one of the top priorities for the EU and the whole developed world. All the nations are working to cut greenhouse gas emissions substantially and trying to develop a strategy for adapting to the impacts of climate change that can no longer be prevented.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities (fossil fuel usage, deforestation and agriculture) cause climate change : rising temperatures, melting glaciers, shifting rain patterns, increased storm intensity and rising sea levels, are all natural consequences. If GHG emissions are not reduced to significantly below levels within few decades, then the result will be dangerous in adverse impacts on human health, natural ecosystems, and the economy. The real risk of serious climate change impacts suggests that urgent action is needed. Since 1990s most industrialised Nations and many developing Countries have implemented climate change-related policies, but it wasn’t enough.

But how can Governments achieve their climate change commitments in the future?

Europe and the rest of the world countries are exploring options and strategies for preparing future proposals and policies. One of the major and long term goal is to encouraged industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, in other words, stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system (Kyoto Protocol – 1997).

Environmental problems have been caused by different factors:
- Technological: environmental problems are the result of inappropriate or misused technologies. The solutions to the problems lie in improving or correcting technology.
- Economical: environmental problems are the result of market failures. The solutions to the problems lie in ensuring that market decisions take into account all costs, including environmental damages.
- Ecological: environmental problems result from a combination of ignorance and indifference to the ecosystem in which humans live. Then the solution is simple, respect the ecosystem.
Starting and according with these fields, Nations can work on it. Many European countries participated to national programs and adopted policies and initiative to limit carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions and improve energy efficiency. These leads to:
- promote electricity from renewable energy (using wind, sun and biomass);
- voluntary commitments by car makers to reduce CO 2 emissions by 25% ;
- proposals on the taxation of energy products;
- reduce emissions coming from industries, landfills and buildings.

Global-To-Local Approach

Specific mutually beneficial global-to-local partnerships linking business, government and community organizations can generate creative and innovative responses to climate change more quickly than top-down control and enforcement.
A partnership approach that mobilizes resources, ideas, and engagement from across the business, civil society, and governmental sectors promises to be more effective at diagnosing climate adaptation challenge and working out possible solutions. These cross-sector partnerships can help bridge the gap between global negotiations and local solutions.
At least three types or orientations of climate change partnerships are desirable:
  • mitigation partnership, the focus is on finding ways of cutting carbon intensity without foreclosing development opportunities. Partnerships can help reduce costs and promote risk sharing by affording each partner access to know-how and learning from partners in all sectors.
  • adaptation partnership, the focus is on exploiting development opportunities amid an evolving context. Partners can help each other understand the changing context of social change and local priorities, identify new development opportunities and enable local or community learning.
  • innovation partnership, the focus is on developing completely new ways of operating, achieving breakthroughs which disrupt or make ‘business as usual’ obsolete by creating a completely new operational reality. These partnerships strive to create and scale-up new business or operating models, new types of products and services and even newmarkets.
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EU Policies

EU is examining ways to make its economy more climate-friendly by 2050, paying attention to power, industry, transport, buildings and farming.
Its goals are:
- Keeping global warming below 2°C, than developed countries will need to reduce the emission about 80-95% by 2050;
- In some decades, with a world population of 9 billion and increasing competition for oil, gas, and other resources, we can improve our energy efficiency and invest in non-fossil energy sources;
- Improving energy efficiency, for instance by investing in energy-efficient buildings and transport.

Using and investing in the green technologies will bring to a short and long term effects, for example it will stimulate growth, creating new jobs for many people. It should be a great opportunity and be a boost for the economy, halving oil and gas imports. And of course air pollution would be drastically reduced.

U.N. Policies

The United Nations joined and sustain the mission to limit gases, starting from the national level; through Kyoto Protocol, they introduced market-based mechanisms, creating what is known as the "carbon market".
The Kyoto mechanisms are Emissions Trading, Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, all used as policies' instrument to reach gases' reduction.
The Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanisms are project-based mechanisms: the first one enables industrialized countries to carry out joint implementation projects with other developed countries, while the second one involves investment in sustainable development projects that reduce emissions in developing countries.

The Clean Development Mechanism stimulates sustainable development allowing emission-reduction projects in developing countries, to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2.
These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to reach some of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
The good functioning of this mechanism is proved by its help to the Adaptation Fund. Established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, the Adaptation Fund is financed by a 2% levy on CERs issued by the CDM.

U.N. Instruments


GEF (Global Environment Facility) works with the Climate Convention but is not attached to it. GEF currently operates with channels funds to Developing Countries on a grant or loan basis.
Established in 1991 as a trust fund administered by the World Bank , its purpose is to fund Developing Countries projects that have global environmental benefits providing new and additional grant and concessional funding to meet the agreed incremental costs of measures to achieve agreed global environmental benefits in the GEF focal areas. It has provided primarily grants for projects and programs that have the explicit purpose of protecting the global environment in six focal areas: climate change (mitigation and adaptation), biodiversity, international waters, persistent organic pollutants, ozone depletion and land degradation (desertification and deforestation).

Since 1991, the GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $10.5 billion in grants and leveraging $51 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 14,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $634 million.


The Green Fund is agoverning instrument created during the 17th Conference of the Parties, with the purpose of making a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.
The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), channelling financial resources to developing countries, and catalysing climate finance, both public and private, and at the international and national levels. To reach its purpose, the Fund will be scalable and flexible and will be a continuously learning institution guided by processes for monitoring and evaluation.
The Green Climate Fund tries to lead its purpose to a wider perspective of climate change: its Board is intended to balance the allocation of the Fund resources between adaptation and mitigation activities.
Its main criteria are:
  • country-driven approach, encouraging the involvement of relevant stakeholders;
  • flexibility, to allow the Fund to evolve over time and become the main global fund for climate change finance;
  • complementarity and coherence: the Fund shall operate in the context of appropriate arrangements between itself and other existing funds under the Convention, and promoting coherence in programming at the national level through finance delivery with other relevant multilateral entities;
  • eligibility: all developing country Parties to the Convention are eligible to receive resources from the Fund; the Fund will finance agreed costs for activities to enable and support enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation technology development and transfer.
Through these principles, the Fund will support developing countries in pursuing project-based and programmatic approaches in accordance with climate change strategies and plans, such as low-emission development strategies or plans, nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs), national adaptation plans of action (NAPAs), national adaptation plans (NAPs) and other related activities.

U.S. Climate Policy and Actions

Ho we know the climate change is a problem that affect to each person in the world and that is why all the governments are applying some policies and actions to combat it. According to the U.S., climate change is a problem where greater energy efficiency and new technologies can reduce the greenhouse gases and solve global change, following those statements the Environmental Protection Agency of United States has divided its policy and actions in four areas:

1.-Current and Near-Term Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives:
To reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions the Federal government works with some public-private partnerships which are focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, methane and other non carbon dioxide gases, agricultural practices and implementation of technologies to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. There are more than 10 partnerships that the EPA joined to achieve the goal about the greenhouse gas reductions, some of them are:

a) Clean Energy-Environment State Partnership: this partnership encourages states to develop and implement effective clean energy and environmental strategies. Under this program states promote energy efficiency, clean distributed generation, renewable energy and other clean energy sources that can provide air quality and other benefits.

b) Climate Leaders: this partnership works with companies around the 50 states of U.S. to develop strategies that can help to avoid the climate change. All the companies that are part of this partnership are committed to reduce their impact on the global environmental setting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals creating a credible record of their accomplishments.

c) ENERGY STAR: is a voluntary labeling program which was designed to identify and promote all the products that are energy-efficient to reduce green house gas emissions. This labeling program is used in more than 1,400 manufacturers in over 40 product categories that are offered to all kind of business and organizations, since schools, hospitals and hotels to small business and congregations.

d) WasteWise: through this voluntary program organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, these actions benefit to reduce the amount of waste deposited in landfills which is important to save organizations money through reduced purchasing and waste disposal costs.

2.-Climate Change Technology Program: This program was made to offer new and refined technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly; to help with this the Federal government established in February of 2002 the Climate Change Technology Program, all that with the intention of accelerate the development and deployment of key technologies.

3.-U.S. Global Change Research Program: this program coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society whit the intention to assist the Nation and the world to understand, predict and respond the global change done by human-induced and natural processes. The principal activities that are realized by the USGCRP are included in several areas like: Observe and understand short and long-term changes in climate, identify the impacts of those changes on ecosystems and society, estimate future changes and provide scientific information to enable effective decision making to deal whit the threats posed by global change.

4.-International Cooperation: The Environmental Protection Agency participates in multilateral and bilateral activities establishing partnerships and providing leadership and technical expertise. The main involvement of the U.S. about this problem is under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change there the U.S. government has created or worked to revitalize a number of international climate initiatives. Some of the multilateral partnerships and activities that U.S promotes are the clean and efficient technologies and the sharing of information that can help to develop new technologies, one example of the international cooperation that U.S. government follows is the Asian Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate that joined with Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea to accelerate the development of clean.

Some initiatives from the U.S. government to avoid the climate change

1) Global Methane Initiative (GMI): this initiative was made with the intention of reduce global methane emissions, enhance economic growth, promote energy security, improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It targets three major methane sources landfills, underground coal mines and natural gas and oil systems and it focus on the development of strategies and markets for the recovery and use of methane.

2) Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF): it is focused on the development and improvement of technologies to separate and capture carbon dioxide for its transport and long-term safe storage, the goal of it initiative is to make these technologies available in the international system.

Other Federal Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives

There are many Federal agencies that have launched some initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity. These initiatives were did with the goal of accelerate the adoption of proven technologies and practices and deliver substantial emissions reductions. Some of those initiatives are:

Carbon Capture and Storage Interagency Task Force
It initiative was did by the President Obama In February 2010. He created an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage with the idea of speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies. The Task Force will help to develop a projected plan to conquer the barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years, with a goal of bringing 5 to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016.

Climate VISION Partnership
This Partnership was did with the idea of reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade in February 2003 by some major industrial sectors in the U. S. According to that partnership, those industries will include oil and gas production, transportation and refining; electricity generation; coal and mineral production and mining; manufacturing (automobiles, cement, iron and steel, magnesium, aluminum, chemicals and semiconductors); railroads; and forestry products.

Targeted Incentives for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Sequestration
The Secretary of Agriculture announced that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will give some incentives to support a better use of land management practices with the finality of remove carbon from the atmosphere and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Through some programs based in forest and agricultural actions the Secretary will support an increased use of biomass energy, crop and grazing land conservation actions that will help to have some practices to reduce emissions from agriculture and sustainable forest management..

Tax Incentives to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The factsheet Energy Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or Recovery Act) gives some information about the tax incentives for individuals and businesses, those incentives were did to encourage the use of cleaner, renewable energy and more energy-efficient technologies to have a greater reduce of greenhouse gas emissions. The new law also includes increases to new clean renewable energy bonds and qualified energy conservation bonds.

Oil companies

In the prelude to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the oil industry was united in its opposition to binding climate targets. All major oil companies took the position that action on global warming could be damaging to their economic interests.Ten years later, the positions of many oil companies have changed.

The literature distinguish the companies’ environmental and climate strategies in various ways:
  • reactive/defensive;
  • proactive/offensive.
A company that acknowledges the problem of human-induced climate change, that is in favor of the Kyoto Protocol and has adopted GHG emission targets, will be seen as having a proactive climate change strategy formulation. In contrast, a company that does not acknowledge the problem of human-induced climate change, that opposes the Kyoto Protocol and has not adopted emission targets, is defined as a company with a reactive climate strategy formulation.
Four indicators as the basis for the assessment of the their climate strategy choice:
  • acknowledgement of the problem of a human-induced global climate change;
  • their positions on the Kyoto Protocol;
  • their GHG emissions targets and measures to achieve those targets;
  • the degree of reorientation in their core business areas [1] .

Two examples are given: ExxonMobil and ENI.

It has a reactive behavior. First of all, it opposes the Kyoto protocol because:
  • It is too expensive
  • It is unfair
  • It will not work
Concerning renewable energies it declares that renewable resources account for approximately 8% of electricity generated in the United States, with the majority coming from hydroelectric facilities. When the scope of renewable is narrowed to wind and solar the contribution to total electricity generated drops to 0.2%. Even if these sources are expected to grow at more than 9% per year until 2020, their contribution to the total energy will be only about 1% of the total electricity sales by that year. Furthermore, the company affirms that the investment in renewables are very expensive and require the government support to be competitive, and these subsidies are uncertain; so the investments represent a higher risk than alternative investments.[2]

ENI belongs to proactive strategy concerning the environmental issue.
It is strongly committed to conducting research on renewable sources (that will account for 30–40% of global energy by 2060), in particular:

¡ solar energy (project with MIT)

¡ biofuels.
ENI supports the Kyoto Procol and participates to the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) for the mitigation of risks of climate change in Europe started on 1 January 2005.
Concerning the problem of gas flaring, ENI is responsible of 4.6% of gas flared and it hopes in a reduction of 80% by 2014 (one example of ENI’s effort is the Kwale project, that is a project based on the Kyoto Protocol Flexible Mechanisms (CDM -Clean Development Mechanism and JI - Joint Implementation)[3] .
Despite these efforts The total greenhouse gas emissions has increased by 5.2%[4] .

These are only two example but in general they reflect the tendencies of the American companies (ExxonMobil) and those of the European ones (ENI). So the differences are substantial and they are thus possibly linked to political contexts in which these companies have their historical roots, have located their headquarters and have their main activities.

Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change

It is imperative that a gender analysis be applied to all actions on climate change and that gender experts are consulted in climate change processes at all levels, so that women's and men’s specific needs and priorities are identified and addressed.

Although the UNFCCC does not address gender equality, there are numerous global commitments and agreements that make the linkage between gender equality and climate change. The International Conference on Population and Development (1994), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), and the 2005 World Summit all acknowledged the pivotal role women play in sustainable development.

The Convention to Combat Desertification which, as of March 2008 had 193 State Parties, recognizes the role played by women in regions of desertification and drought, particularly in rural areas of developing countries. It calls for its Member States to promote women’s participation in decision-making policies and programmes that address desertification and drought. More information:

In addition, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) states that “Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life”, and to ensure that women are on equal terms with men in both Governmental and Non-governmental organizations and in regards to the development and implementation of policy. In addition, CEDAW emphasizes the unique challenges for rural women and the need to ensure the application of these measures in rural areas. For example, CEDAW calls for “access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities, appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reform as well as in land resettlement schemes [Article 14.2 (g)] and to adequate living conditions, including adequate sanitation and water supply [Article 14.2 (h)]. In 2009, the CEDAW Committee issued a statement on Gender and Climate Change, expressing concern about the absence of a gender perspective in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other global and national policies and initiatives on climate change; and calling on States Parties to include gender equality as an overarching guiding principle in the UNFCCC agreement expected at the 15th Conference of Parties in Copenhagen. //

In 2002, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the issue of climate change at its 46th session. The agreed conclusions on “Environmental management and the mitigation of natural disasters” adopted by the Commission called for action to mainstream a gender perspective into ongoing research on the impacts and causes of climate change, and to encourage the application of results of this research in policies and programmes.

The Commission on the Status of Women considered climate change as an emerging issue in its 52nd session in 2008. Participants drew attention to the fact that climate change is not a gender-neutral phenomenon, stressing that it has a direct impact on women’s lives due to their domestic work and makes their everyday sustenance even more difficult. The Commission called for efforts on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, specifically referring to the impact of climate change on women and girls. Furthermore, it called for governments to: integrate a gender perspective into the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of national environmental policies; to strengthen mechanisms; and to provide adequate resources to ensure women’s full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels on environmental issues, particularly on strategies related to the impact of climate change on the lives of women and girls.

Mexico's Climate Change Policies
The Climate Change is and has been an issue that concerns to the Mexican Government; since April 2005, it was created the “Intersecretarial Commission of Climate Change” (CICC for its acronym in Spanish); but it was until May 25th 2007 when the president of the Republic Felipe Calderon made its public announcement. Its main goal is to accomplish all the commitments made for the Mexican Government on the “United Nation Convention for the Climate Change” on the period from 2007-2012.

Five special teams compose the CICC, each one with specific goals and responsibilities, and all of them are coordinated by the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT for its acronym in Spanish).

Adaptation Policies (GT-ADAPT)
Since the effects of the Climate Change are inevitable on short-term the adaptation is the strategy with major importance for the actual Government of the Republic. For this reason, it was created this special group since the start operations of the CICC.

Emission Reduction Deforestation and Degradation Policies (GT-REDD+)
This Group was created on 2009, with the advice of the Spanish Government and other experts of the private sector it pretends to define control limits for the actions of Deforestation, Degradation and Emission of pollutants on the national territory.

Mitigation Policies (GT-MITIG)
This Group proposes actions of Mitigation for the Climate Change on Short (2012) mid (2020) and Long term (2050). This group will assemble different activities of different groups and secretaries in order to reach the goals of the CICC.

International Negotiations Policies (GT-INT)
This group is coordinated by the External Relationships Secretary, defines and support the position of the Mexican government on the International Forums for the “Climate Change”.

Mexican Commission for the Reduction of Emissions and Capture of Greenhouse Gases (COMEGEI)
This committee start operations since 2004, before the creation of the CICC, but right now is part of it, this group acts according to the Art. 12 of the Kyoto Protocol.

One of the first actions that the Mexican Government did after the creation of the CICC was the public announcement of the “National Strategy against the Climate Change”. During this ceremony, the president Felipe Calderon gave a tree to every assistant of the event. It was planned to plant 250 millions of tree during that year. Is important to say that the UN had established a goal of 1000 millions of trees per year and with this action, Mexico planted ¼ of the World Goal.

Main focus of this national strategy is to reduce the emissions of Greenhouse Gases, to achieve this goal the Government plans to gradually replace the public buses and trucks from 10 years ago or older and finally put an end to the subsidies on fossil combustibles on the country.
In Mexico almost all the services of Electrical Energy are provided by the State but recently some permissions were given to the private sector in order to improve the technology and investment on the generation of distribution of the Energy in the country.

Along with these activities, on March 2012 was also created a Civil Association for the Sustainable Development, during the Opening Ceremony the President highlighted the great activism that there is in Mexico for the Climate Change, and also made reference to Mario Molina, Mexican citizen precursor of the discovering of the Antarctic ozone hole.

Finally, two months ago the Mexican Congress approved one “Law against the Climate Change” and right now is the only country along the United Kingdom whit Laws that control the emission of Greenhouse Gases. The law pretends to promote policies and incentives to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and impulse the creation of renewable energy sources.

This law considers the creation of an institute to coordinate the investigations in order to protect the environment and the preservation and restoration of the Ecologic Balance; It also foreseen a budget with public and private funds to face the problem of Global Warming and stimulate the citizens to contribute to the environment care.

Mexico has been has suffered the effects of the Climate Change, during the last year taken place the worst Droughts and Floods from 70 years ago. The administration of the actual president consider the environmental activities as one of the principal axis of government but this activities must continue in order to reach a balance and improve the quality of life of the Mexican people and our country.,13046cec821d6310VgnVCM4000009bcceb0aRCRD.html
  1. ^ Rosemary Lyster,Adrian J. Bradbrook , Energy Law and the Environment, Cambridge University Press, 2006
  2. ^ Booklet issued by Exxon Corporation,Global Climate Change: Everyone’s Debate, undated. Source:
  3. ^
  4. ^


    One of the climate change's probems is the risk of 4 degree hotter world by the end of the century.
    The World Bank's Global Expert Team for Climate Change Adaptation has commissioned the report Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4° Warmer World Must be Avoied. It has been written by a team of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics. This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celtius,all regions of the world would suffer, some more than others, but the regions poor will suffer the most.
    The report declares that the 4°C scenarios are potentially devastating:
    • Inundation of coastal cities;
    • Increasing malnutrition rates;
    • Many dry regions becoming dryer wet regions wetter;
    • Heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics;
    • Water scarcity in many regions;
    • Increased intensity of tropical cyclones;
    • Irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

    Climatic consequences of 4 Degree hotter world:
    • Extreme heat waves, will be experienced during almost all summer months in many regions. The effects would not be evenly distributed. Increases of 6° C or more in average monthly summer temperatures would be expected in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the United States;
    • Sea level-rise by 0.5 to 1 meter by 2100. Some of the most highly vulnerable cities are located in Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The most vulnerable regions are in the tropics, sub-tropics and towards the poles, where multiple impacts are likely to come together;
    • Agriculture, water resources, human health, biodiversity and ecosystem services are likely to be severely impacted. This could lead to large-scale displacement of populations and consequences for human security and economic and trade systems;
    • Many small islands may not be able to sustain their populations.

    Humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed. The global mean temperature has continued to increase and is now about 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels and many climate change impacts have already started to emerge. The world needs to hold warming below 2 degrees and it must tackle the problem of climate change more aggressively.
    With more efficient and smarter use of energy and natural resources opportunities exist to drastically reduce the climate impact of development without slowing poverty alleviation or economic growth.
    Each country will take a different pathway to greener growth.
    Those initiatives could include:
    • Putting the more than US$ 1 trillion of fossil fuel and other harmful subsidies to better use;
    • Introducing natural capital accounting into national accounts;
    • Expanding both public and private expenditures on green infrastructure able to withstand extreme weather and urban public transport systems designed to minimize carbon emission and maximize access to jobs and services;
    • Supporting carbon pricing and international and national emissions trading schemes;
    • Increasing energy efficiency, especially in buildings, and the share of renewable power produced.

    For more informations about this topic you can read the report Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4° Warmer World Must be Avoied November 2012.