Understanding that Simon wanted to bet again, Ehrlich and climatologist Stephen Schneider counter-offered, challenging Simon to bet on 15 current trends, betting $1000 that each will get worse (as in the previous wager) over a ten year future period.
The trends they bet would continue to worsen were:
The three years 2002-2004 will on average be warmer than 1992-1994.
There will be more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2004 than in 1994.
There will be more nitrous oxide in the atmosphere in 2004 than 1994.
The concentration of ozone in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) will be greater than in 1994.
Emissions of the air pollutant sulfur dioxide in Asia will be significantly greater in 2004 than in 1994.
There will be less fertile cropland per person in 2004 than in 1994.
There will be less agricultural soil per person in 2004 than 1994.
There will be on average less rice and wheat grown per person in 2002-2004 than in 1992-1994.
In developing nations there will be less firewood available per person in 2004 than in 1994.
The remaining area of virgin tropical moist forests will be significantly smaller in 2004 than in 1994.
The oceanic fisheries harvest per person will continue its downward trend and thus in 2004 will be smaller than in 1994.
There will be fewer plant and animal species still extant in 2004 than in 1994.
More people will die of AIDS in 2004 than in 1994.
Between 1994 and 2004, sperm cell counts of human males will continue to decline and reproductive disorders will continue to increase.
The gap in wealth between the richest 10% of humanity and the poorest 10% will be greater in 2004 than in 1994.
Simon declined the bet, and used the following analogy to explain why he did so:
“Let me characterize their [Ehrlich and Schneider’s] offer as follows. I predict, and this is for real, that the average performances in the next Olympics will be better than those in the last Olympics. On average, the performances have gotten better, Olympics to Olympics, for a variety of reasons. What Ehrlich and others says is that they don’t want to bet on athletic performances, they want to bet on the conditions of the track, or the weather, or the officials, or any other such indirect measure.”
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