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Mobilizing to Save Florida from the Rising Water of Global Warming

January 16, 2009

Governor Crist met for the first time yesterday with the new Florida Energy and Climate Commission, which is tasked with developing a state plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage investment in alternative energy.

Joe Murphy, programs coordinator for the Gulf Restoration Network, hopes Florida can set an example for the other four states in the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. He seeks a partnership among the states bordering the gulf and the federal government, focused on protecting the health of the Gulf.

"If we do everything we can do in Florida, but other gulf coastal states are not addressing either the causes or impacts of climate change, at the end of the day, we’re going to be in real trouble."

Murphy adds, the impact of climate change will be most-dramatic along the Gulf due to large coastal populations, and money spent now will save millions later.

"The Gulf of Mexico is ground-zero in the United States for the worst of the real-world impacts of climate change, if we don’t act now."

Murphy believes, if nothing changes, we can expect extensive flooding, increased hurricanes, loss of habitat for wildlife, and saltwater contamination of drinking water, threatening life on the Gulf Coast.

"We have a moral responsibility to future generations to not leave to them a Gulf region that is so altered it no longer represents any of the things we love about the Gulf of Mexico that we know now."

Critics question whether global warming is caused by human activity and argue mitigation efforts are wasting money. But, Murphy argues evidence of global warming already proves it is having affects, including rising sea-level and intensifying weather patterns.

The Gulf Restoration Network is asking Governor Crist to encourage the Alliance and the other Gulf Coast governors to work together.

Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL