CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs: Prospects for the Future

Important note:

The report below is published by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a non-profit organization that is overall skeptical of the negative direct and indirect impacts of elevated CO2. This report provides a highly biased view and interpretation of selected scientific articles. It also includes misleading analysis and statements.

Nevertheless, this report is mentioned in this blog which aims to provide an unbiased view of the literature and media articles pertaining to ocean acidification and its consequences on marine organisms and ecosystem.

Jean-Pierre Gattuso


From the Summary for Policy Makers:

  • The persistence of coral reefs through geologic time – when temperatures were as much as 10-15°C warmer than at present, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were 2 to 7 times higher than they are currently – provides substantive evidence that these marine entities can successfully adapt to a dramatically changing global environment. Thus, the recent die-off of many corals cannot be due solely, or even mostly, to global warming or the modest rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration over the course of the Industrial Revolution.


  • The rising CO2 content of the atmosphere may induce changes in ocean chemistry (pH) that could slightly reduce coral calcification rates; but potential positive effects of hydrospheric CO2 enrichment may more than compensate for this modest negative phenomenon.

  • Theoretical predictions indicate that coral calcification rates should decline as a result of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations by as much as 40% by 2100. However, real-world observations indicate that elevated CO2 and elevated temperatures are having just the opposite effect.

In light of the above observations, and in conjunction with all of the material presented in this review, it is clear that climate-alarmist claims of impending marine species extinctions due to increases in both temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration are not only not supported by real-world evidence, they are actually refuted by it.


Idso C.D., 2009. CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs: Prospects for the Future. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and Science and Public Policy Institute, 81 p. Full report.


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