I Told You So!

This satellite image released by NASA Wednesday Sept. 28, 2005 shows the minimum concentration of Arctic sea ice in 2005 occurring on September 21, 2005, when the sea ice extent dropped to 2.05 million sq. miles, the lowest extent yet recorded in the satellite record. New satellite observations show that sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster while air temperatures in the region are rising sharply, scientists say.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
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 CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith