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Earth's Warming Warning

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This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Scientists from the United Nations have been warning us for years about the dangers of climate change. These experts got together again last week in Valencia, Spain, and concluded our global climate prospects are probably worse than we previously thought.

Look for severe water shortages in Africa in less then 15 years; hotter, longer summers in Europe and North America; and coastal flooding impacting islands and other low-lying areas.

The scientists warn that worldwide carbon emissions must stop increasing by 2015-just seven years from now-or it might be too late. In response, the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that only urgent, global action will do. World leaders will have that opportunity in Bali next month when they get together to replace the Kyoto accords.

America dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, saying the science was junk and the treaty unfair. Ignoring reality might have seemed like smart policy back then, but is it still?

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.