|Paul R. Ehrlich and
Stephen H. Schneider are Professors in the Department of Biological
Sciences, Stanford University.
"We wager $1000 per trend that each of the following 15 continental
and global scale indicators will change in the direction indicated
("get worse") over the next decade":
1. The three years 2002-2004 will on average be warmer
than 1992-1994 (rapid climatic change associated
with global warming could pose a major threat of increasing droughts and
2. There will be more carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere in 2004 than in 1994 (carbon dioxide is
the most important gas driving global warming).
3. There will be more nitrous oxide in the
atmosphere in 2004 than in 1994 (nitrous oxide is
another greenhouse gas that is increasing due to human disruption of the
4. The concentration of tropospheric ozone
globally will be greater in 2004 than in 1994 (tropospheric
ozone has important deleterious effects on human health and crop
5. Emissions of sulfur dioxide in Asia will
be significantly greater in 2004 than in 1994 (sulfur
dioxide becomes sulphuric acid in the atmosphere, the principal component
of acid rain, and it is associated with direct damage to human health).
6. There will be less fertile
cropland per person in 2004 than in 1994 (as the
population grows, some of Earth's best farmland is being paved over).
7. There will be less agricultural soil per person
in 2004 than in 1994 (about a quarter of the world's
topsoil has been lost since World War II, and erosion virtually everywhere far
exceeds rates of soil replacement).
8. There will be on average less rice and wheat
grown per person in 2002-2004 than in 1992-1994 (rice and
wheat are the two most important crops consumed by people).
9. In developing nations there will be less firewood available
per person in 2004 than in 1994 (more than a billion
people today depend on fuel-wood to meet their energy needs).
10. The remaining area of tropical moist forests will be
significantly smaller in 2004 than in 1994 (those
forests are the repositories of some of humanity's most precious living
resources, including the basis for many modern pharmaceuticals worldwide).
11. The oceanic fisheries harvest per person will
continue its downward trend and thus in 2004 will be smaller
than in 1994 (over-fishing, ocean pollution, and coastal
wetlands destruction will continue to take their toll).
12. There will be fewer plant and animal species
still extant in 2004 than in 1994 (continuing habitat
destruction is wiping out organisms that are the working parts of humanity's
13. More people will die of AIDS in 2004 than did
in 1994 (as the disease takes off in Asia).
14. Between 1994 and 2004, sperm counts of human males
will continue to decline and reproductive disorders to increase (over the last 50 years there has been a roughly 40 percent
decline in the count worldwide. We bet this trend will continue due to the
widespread use of hormone-disrupting synthetic organic chemical compounds).
15. The gap in wealth between the richest 10
percent of humanity and the poorest 10 percent will be greater in 2004 than in