How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Societal Impact of Climate Change: Mountain or Molehill?
Goklany, I.M.  2000.  Potential consequences of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration compared to other environmental problems.  Technology 7S: 189-213.

What was done
The author "examines the validity of the assertion that anthropogenic climate change is the overriding environmental concern facing the globe today," looking at recent trends in various climate-sensitive phenomena such as global food security, U.S. deaths due to storms and floods, global death rates due to infections and parasitic diseases, and the biomass of northern forests.  Then, based upon the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1995 Impact Assessment, the author evaluates the projected global impacts of climate change upon food security, deforestation, biodiversity and human health several decades into the future.

What was learned
The author's analyses reveal that over the next several decades the climate-sensitive phenomena investigated will likely be an order of magnitude smaller in significance than those due to other stressors of society, such as population growth, poverty, land conversion and non-climate-change-related rates of infectious and parasitic diseases.

What it means
In the words of the author, "eliminating anthropogenic climate change, even if feasible, would - for the next several decades - do little to reduce the much larger baseline rates of global deforestation, biodiversity loss, and infectious and parasitic diseases."  Consequently, the author concludes that man-induced climate change "is not today - nor [is it] likely to be in the foreseeable future - as urgent as other current environmental and public health problems."

This being the case, why is there so much angst over potential global warming?  Do the people behind the movement to reduce emissions of life-supporting CO2 not really care about the truly pressing environmental concerns of our day?  Do they have some alternative agenda they are pushing, for which concern about potential global warming serves as a convenient lever by which they can move the masses in the direction they desire?  Or are they just plain ignorant?  Mercy would suggest the latter alternative; but these people are not stupid.  Hence, the former possibility emerges as the more likely stimulus for their actions.  Then again, who really knows?  And does it even matter?

Reviewed 27 September 2000