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How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs
Prospects for the Future

Concluding Comment


Atmospheric CO2 enrichment has been postulated to possess the potential to harm coral reefs both directly and indirectly. With respect to marine life -- and especially that of calcifying organisms such as corals and coccolithophores -- neither increases in temperature, nor increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration, nor increases in both of them together, have had any ill effects on the important processes of calcification and growth. In fact, out in the real world of nature, these processes have actually responded positively to the supposedly unprecedented concomitant increases in these “twin evils” of the radical environmentalist movement.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the materials discussed in this review, it is that people should be paying much more attention to real-world observations than to theoretical predictions. Far too many predictions of CO2-induced catastrophes are treated as sure-to-occur, when real-world observations show them to be highly unlikely or even virtual impossibilities. The cases of CO2-induced coral bleaching and ocean acidification are no different. We have got to realize that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are not the bane of the biosphere, but a boon to the planet’s many life forms.