How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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The Real Cause for Concern About Sea Level
Ericson, J.P., Vorosmarty, C.J., Dingman, S.L., Ward, L.G. and Meybeck, M. 2006. Effective sea-level rise and deltas: Causes of change and human dimension implications. Global and Planetary Change 50: 63-82.

What was done
The authors analyzed the major forces shaping forty deltas (distributed across a wide range of climatic, geomorphological and economic development conditions) that are the endpoints of rivers that drain 30% of the earth's landmass, provide 42% of terrestrial runoff to the sea, and are home to 300 million people.

What was learned
Ericson et al. determined that under current conditions, effective sea-level rise (ESLR) rates for the 40 deltas range from 0.5 to 12.5 mm per year, and that if these rates persist and no mitigative responses are undertaken, "4.9% of the deltaic areas considered by this study and 8.7 million people could potentially be affected by coastal inundation by 2050." They also report that "the sources of this vulnerability are derived predominantly from human activities on the continental landmass," and that climate-related sea-level rise has but "a relatively minor influence on the overall condition of deltaic systems." More specifically, their results suggest that "decreased accretion of fluvial sediment resulting from upstream siltation of artificial impoundments and consumptive losses of runoff from irrigation are the primary determinants of ESLR in nearly 70% of the deltas," adding that "20% of the deltas show accelerated subsidence, while only 12% show eustatic sea-level rise as the predominant effect."

What it means
As the five researchers describe it, "the recent emphasis on climate-related sea-level rise, which we find to be a relatively minor influence on the overall condition of deltaic systems, suggests that we are today poorly prepared to respond to the broad array of other critical determinants of coastal system stability well into the future." This has long been our viewpoint as well ... about many issues people associate with climate change, such as coral bleaching, for example. The world's climate alarmists, on the other hand, are so intensely focused on the theoretical global warming-induced catastrophes to be found in the virtual world of climate models, about which we can do essentially nothing, that they fail to comprehend the magnitude and nearness of the many real catastrophes that are bearing down upon us in the here and now, about which we can do something ... if we don't waste our time, talents and resources in futile attempts to alter planetary forces over which we have no significant control.

Let's get real. It's what the real world needs.

Reviewed 9 August 2006