Defining timeframes

2009-07-25

in Geek stuff, Writing

For the sake of clarity, I am going to try to use the terms ‘near,’ ‘medium,’ and ‘long’ term in a consistent way in future posts about climate change:

  • Near-term: within the next ten years
  • Medium-term: within the next fifty years
  • Long-term: within the next hundred years

For instance: developed states need to establish strong domestic carbon prices in the near term. In the medium term, they need to get very close to carbon neutrality (perhaps with emissions 95% below 1990 levels). In the long term, the entire planet needs to be basically carbon neutral.

When referring to phenomena where the relevant timescale is different (shorter, for politics and quantum mechanics; longer for geology), I will try to use numerical estimates rather than the near-medium-long descriptions.

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