How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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CO2 to the Rescue!
Volume 4, Number 18b: 2 May 2001

In a brief commentary in the 3 February 2001 issue of New Scientist magazine (p.19), Fred Pearce reports on an ominous-sounding (but aren't they all?) IPCC prediction, namely, that background ozone levels in the Northern Hemisphere could well triple over the current century.  This phenomenon, according to the IPCC report, will exact a great toll on the hemisphere's crops and trees; and in interviewing Stuart Penkett of the University of East Anglia about the creeping horror's likely consequences, Pearce quotes him as saying that ozone-induced damage to vegetation may be so widespread "it could alter the Earth's reflectivity ... and maybe influence the hydrological cycle."

Of course, this prediction should have been prefaced with the important words all else being equal; because, of course, all else will not be equal at that future date.  For one thing, there are already certain partial technological fixes to the ozone problem; and many others can be expected to be developed over the next hundred years.  Most importantly, perhaps, the air's CO2 concentration should have risen substantially by that time; and elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 can greatly constrain the harm done by high ozone levels.  In our Subject Index, for example, there are 19 Journal Reviews filed under Ozone as of today's date; and they all tell pretty much the same story, i.e., that a doubling of the air's CO2 concentration will likely ameliorate all of the ozone damage likely to otherwise occur to earth's crops and trees by the year 2100.

Why doesn't the IPCC, or Fred Pearce, or any of the scientists he interviewed for his column mention this well-established fact?  Surely, we are not the only people who read the scientific literature and stumble upon these gems of knowledge by the bucketful, are we?  There must be some other reason.  Now what could it be???

Dr. Craig D. Idso
Dr. Keith E. Idso
Vice President