"Over Earth’s history, ocean life has recovered from numerous sudden extinction episodes by adaptation and evolution of new species, but the time scales for extinction and re-population are millions of years, not a few hundred years. Human-driven ocean acidification is affecting the ocean far faster than the Earth’s natural recovery pace can accommodate. Today’s rate of acidification is 10 times faster than anything experienced since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago."
As Earth's oceans warm and become more acidic, ocean creatures including pteropods are undergoing severe stress. They are harbingers of change. It's possible by 2050 that they might not be able to make a shell any more and if we lose these organisms the impact on the food chain will be catastrophic.
"Knowledge of the oceans is more than a matter of curiosity. Our very survival may hinge upon it.” President John F. Kennedy, Jr., March 1961 message to Congress.
"It's not conservative to waste stuff," Inglis says, "and to cause somebody else's kids to go on the sands of the Middle East to fight for that stuff that we're wasting."
Telling the inhabitants of a coral that island that they're safe because sea level won't rise, is like a doctor telling a smoker, "stop worrying, you aren't going to die of lung cancer", while knowing full well that they're doomed to die from a coronary thrombosis. Ocean acidification (OA) and bleaching are killing coral and therefore—as a result of our unabated CO2 emissions —it's almost certain that all coral islands will disappear beneath the sea, whether sea levels rise or not.
"Before we start geoengineering we have to raise the following question: are we sufficiently talented to take on what might become the onerous permanent task of keeping the Earth in homeostasis?" —James Lovelock