This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor.
The year 2040 seems like a long way's away. It's just over 30 years from now. Thirty years ago doesn't seem so long ago. I had already started a career, and I can even remember some of the stupid mistakes I made along the way.
Are we making stupid mistakes now that will really cost us, say, 30 years from now? Scientists funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation think so. Analyzing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the Arctic they determined the area around the North Pole could be ice free 30 years from now.
That will be catastrophic for the things that live up there like polar bears, and eventually catastrophic for us too. If the polar caps melt you'll be able to water ski across much of Manhattan. Places now on the beach will be deep underwater.
This is a potential crisis so huge it makes the War in Iraq seem like an inconvenience. I might even be alive 30 years from now to say I told you so.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many across the country.
By Harry Smith
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.