[Coral-List] CO2 science

Eric Borneman eborneman at uh.edu
Fri Oct 30 21:15:32 EDT 2009

I have very much enjoyed reading this thread, particularly the views  
and comments of John Bruno, Ove, Alina, Joanie, Mike Risk, Mary Toy,  
and many others. I, unfortunately share what I think most of us do - a  
realistic pessimism that we will face too little, too late as an end  
to this issue. But, that said, I could not and will not concede defeat  
to the deniers, the willfully or accidentally uninformed, the  
astroturfers, the Fox News viewers. Not in my work in science, in  
outreach, in education (especially of the young who most amendable to  
fostering of an environmental ethic), nor to those who are simply  
confused and seeking answers.  So, with that in mind, I wanted to  
inject a few optimistic quotes to keep our collective fires burning.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can  
change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret  

"The starting point for a better world is the belief that it is  
possible." Norman Cousins

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in  
having new eyes." Marcel Proust

"Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an  
inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day." E.B. White

"All things are possible once enough human beings realize that  
everything is at stake.” Norman Cousins

"The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like. But we  
cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now." Eleanor Roosevelt

"There are no such things as great deeds -- only small ones done with  
great heart." Mother Theresa

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can." John Wesley

"We do make a difference -- one way or the other. We are responsible  
for the impact of our lives. Whatever we do with whatever we have, we  
leave behind us a legacy for those who follow." Stephen Covey

"In a gentle way you can shake the world." Mahatma Gandhi

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that  
you do it." Mahatma Gandhi

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other  
time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that  
we seek." Barack Obama

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep  
walking, eventually you'll make progress." Barack Obama

Eric Borneman
Dept. of Biology and Biochemistry
University of Houston

On Oct 30, 2009, at 1:00 PM, Joanie Kleypas wrote:

> Bill Allison recently asked this:
> I wonder what the authors cited in Sherwood and Isdo 2009 would have  
> to say
> about that document
> Regarding a recent post Eugene Shinn:
>> John ,That is a great post! Thanks for making me (and listers) aware
>> of the Co2science  website. I was especially impressed with
>> http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N21/EDIT.php. Amazing example
>> of how the published results of our well respected coral scientists
>> can support an alternative interpretation of the effects of co2 on
>> corals. Keith and Idso wrote a very scholarly piece and came up with
>> a very different perception. Gene
> Here is what I have to say:
> Walter Goldberg's post captured the problem with th reports.   
> CO2science
> is cherry-picking science to support the point they want to make.   
> They
> are not objective.  In previous ocean acidification publications,  
> we've
> specifically addressed their contrarian points head on (e.g., the fact
> that we had corals in the past when CO2 levels were high; the flawed
> argument that CO2 increase will fertilize zooxanthellae production and
> thus enhance calcification).  The authors then cite those publications
> to make a point, yet blatantly ignore the explanations provided in the
> same publications that prove their points wrong.
> Unfortunately, their reports do make it into the hands of US
> Congressmen, and provide fodder for the naysayers as well as confusion
> for those who are honestly trying to understand the science.  We do  
> have
> our peer review process in science, which is not perfect, but it does
> help keep us honest.  Yes, sometimes good science is unfairly  
> quashed by
> this process, but even so, these guys don't even try to have their  
> work
> peer reviewed by experts in the field.
> This has been going on since about 2000 and to address these folks  
> head
> on is a waste of time - they don't come to the discussion with a quest
> for the truth, but rather with a quest to "win" the conversation.  I
> don't even like posting my comments on this issue, because invariably
> someone will see it as an 'opening' for a useless debate.  It doesn't
> matter how much information one provides them, it would not change  
> what
> they say.  Their audience is not us, nor do they feel the need to  
> prove
> anything to us.
> all the best,
> Joanie
> Walter Goldberg wrote:
>> I took a look at the essay written by "CO2science" posted recently.  
>> They make some interesting points about CO2 and corals, some of  
>> which are actually fact-based. Regrettably, their perspective is so  
>> biased that the authors seem to highlight only the parts of papers  
>> they like. For example, they cite Maynard et al., 2008 (Major  
>> bleaching events can lead to increased thermal tolerance in corals.  
>> Marine Biology (Berlin) 155: 173-182) as follows: “Major bleaching  
>> events can lead to increased thermal tolerance in corals” and the  
>> coral genera that were originally most susceptible to thermal  
>> stress (Pocillopora and Acropora) "showed the greatest increase in  
>> tolerance." Both of these statements may be true, but here is the  
>> part they left out:
>> Although the vulnerability of coral reefs remains largely dependent  
>> on the rate and extent of climate change, such increase in thermal  
>> tolerance may delay the onset of mass coral mortalities in time for  
>> the implementation of low-emission scenarios and effective  
>> management”.
>> This is in the abstract, so it doesn’t take much sleuthing or  
>> scholarship (as Gene calls it) to figure out what these guys are  
>> trying to do. Who or what is CO2science? It is The Center for the  
>> Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change run by the Idso family  
>> who constitute the Chairman, President, Vice President and  
>> Operations Manager. Three have PhD’s, none having anything to do  
>> with reefs or oceans. Here are some gems from their own website:
>> 1) Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming
>> Where We Stand on the Issue
>> C. D. Idso and K. E. Idso
>> ….the biospheric benefits that come from the aerial fertilization  
>> effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment: enhanced plant growth,  
>> increased plant water use efficiency, greater food production for  
>> both people and animals, plus a host of other biological benefits  
>> too numerous to describe..
>> 2) What Motivates the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and  
>> Global Change?
>> “ExxonMobil made some donations to us a few times in the past”. “We  
>> never discuss our funding”.
>> My goodness, nothing suspicious here. Just pure scholarship.
>> Walter M. Goldberg, Ph.D.
>> Professor of Biological Sciences
>> Florida International University
>> University Park Campus
>> Miami, FL 33199
>> email goldberg at fiu.edu
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> -- 
> ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
> Joanie Kleypas
> Integrated Science Program / Climate & Global Dynamics
> National Center for Atmospheric Research
> PO Box 3000
> Boulder, CO 80307-3000
> ph: 303-497-8111
> fx: 303-497-8125
> kleypas at ucar.edu
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