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Warm and tender


County commissioners representing the Florida Keys have become the first U.S. governmental agency to join the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in combating global warming. Monroe County commissioners will send a delegate to United Nations Climate Summit at The Hauge in November and join other governments in Florida to push for a reduction in greenhouse gasses.

"Monroe County is the first local government to say they want to join up with AOSIS to tell their story on a regional, national and international level," says Jennifer Morgan, who directs the climate-change campaign for the World Wildlife Fund. The Keys' coral reefs have been bleached because of warmer seas and higher carbon-dioxide levels, which are attributable to global warming. Experts estimate that 20 percent of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed by the effects of greenhouse gasses.

AOSIS is a coalition of 42 small island states at the forefront of the campaign against global warming. "They are most at risk," Morgan says. "So they've been pushing hardest for change."

Morgan says it's not too late to change the outcome of rising global temperatures. "There are a lot of things we can avoid from happening," Morgan says.