Because warming is but one consequence of carbon pollution, the term "climate change" is better. Emphasizing temperature alone when considering impacts of carbon pollution — released into our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels — can lead to mistaken conclusions about our impact.

Other trends we must examine to assess our impact on the planet include:

  • Disrupting patterns in precipitation: amount, seasonality, frequency, intensity and form (snow vs rain).
  • Increasing storm severity, frequency and intensity.
  • Reducing mountain snowpack — especially in the western U.S.
  • Dwindling ice at the poles and in mountain glaciers.
  • Increasing wildfires: frequency, lengthened season, acreage burned.
  • Shifting ranges of many native species as they adjust to changed climate and habitat.
  • Warming lakes, rivers and oceans.
  • Rising oceans due to the expansion of water as it warms.
  • Deteriorating air quality: cancer, allergic, respiratory impacts.

Even "climate change" does not accurately reflect the problem; it ignores acidification threatening ocean ecosystems, one of the most serious consequences.

Only if all trends reversed would it be reasonable to conclude our actions are not compromising the planet. Damaging trends continue. An apparent short-term slowdown in warming does not mean we should continue to pollute. — Alan Journet, Jacksonville

If you want a lesson in character assassination, smear techniques and ad hominem attacks, read Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column, "Dr. Ben Carson sinks to a new low" (Oct. 16).

What sticks in Mr. Pitts' craw, and what he tries to obscure with his rant, is that Dr. Carson, a well-respected retired black neurosurgeon, presents a free-market alternative to Obamacare based on health savings accounts. Dr. Carson's plan is voluntary and less expensive — not coercive and a budget buster as is Obamacare.

The health care decision is between the patient and doctor without intrusion by an insurance company, government bureaucrat or the IRS. Your medical information and financial situation are private — not shared with a "navigator." Carson's plan is tailored to the individual — not a mandated plan that may not fit the needs of the individual.

Carson's plan is easy to understand and apply, unlike Obamacare. If ever there was a contrast between collectivism and individualism in medicine, this is it.

Dr. Carson has graduated from the morass of collectivism, central planning and racism. Mr. Pitts is stuck in it. It is Mr. Pitts who has sunk to a new low. — Gordon W. Dickerson, Medford

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