Irish Bookmaker Taking Odds on CO2 Output, Disappearing Polar Bears

road-to-copenhagengloberouletteAn Irish bookie is taking bets on just how much CO2 the planet will belch out next year, and let’s just say the odds are not in humanity’s favor.

Paddy Power, an online and offline gambling company based in Dublin, said the odds are 7 to 4 that total world output of CO2 will be over 34 billion tons.

Paddy Power is basing its odds on the next Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) report for the UN. The last report in 2007, covering 2006, measured CO2 emissions at 28.4 billion metric tonnes. A rise to 34 billion would be a 21 percent jump.

The full table of odds:

Amount of World CO2 Emissions (2006 – 28.4 mil (in thousands of metric tons))
10/1      Under 20 Million
8/1       20,000,001 – 23,000,000
6/1       23,000,001 – 26,000,000
4/1       26,000,001 – 29,000,000
7/2       29,000,001 – 31,000,000
9/4       31,000,001 – 34,000,000
7/4       Over 34 Million

And a quote from the company’s transparently craven press release:

Paddy Power said: “The politicians may be talking, but punters don’t seem to have much faith.  They’re betting on things getting a lot worse before they get better.”

Of course, the dice may be loaded. Extrapolated data on CO2 emissions is available on the CDIAC website, and folks there seem more than willing to answer questions from a stray reporter. So Paddy might know something we don’t.

Paddy Power was also taking bets on who will have the most annual emissions — the USA or EU. Unclear if the bookies at Paddy Power are aware that China actually has the highest annual emissions of CO2.

By the way, the CDIAC says complete data for 2007 should be available by April or May and preliminary data for 2009 around the end of June.

Reputation for Controversy

The gambling company has somewhat of a reputation in Europe for running the odds on controversial subjects. The day of Barack Obama’s election, Paddy Power was taking bets on when America’s first black president would be assassinated. The company was excoriated by the US Ambassador to Ireland, but Paddy Power insisted it was simply acceding to the wishes of its customers.

Rolling the Dice on Polar Bears, Too

Greenhouse gases are not the only thing Paddy Power’s betting on. The Guardian reports Paddy is also running the odds on how many polar bears there will be left on December 31, 2011. Again, the odds are not cheery:

20/1 Under 10,000
8/1 10,000 – 15,000
13/8 15,000 – 20,000
7/4 20,000 – 25,000
9/4 25,000 – 30,000
4/1 Over 30,000

The current population is between 20-25,000, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which works to save polar bears and other endangered species — no matter the odds.

The WWF has a program that allows people to adopt a polar bear. Which, in my opinion, is a much better way to spend your money.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.