- Delegates from 194 countries met in Lima (Peru) Dec. '14 and held negotiations towards a comprehensive global climate agreement.
- Goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 °C (36 °F) above current levels.
- Conference paved the way for 2015's landmark Paris UN Climate Change Conference (biggest opportunity planet earth has for a comprehensive climate change deal).
- How should burden of cutting emissions be shared?
- What financial contributions must advanced economies make to allay the cost of whatever the rest of the world agrees to forego?
- Now that the US and China are involved and making commitments, how can India be brought in too?
- Good for Immigrants, Wall Street, Oil & Gas industries.
- Bad for ISIS, Ebola and small endangered birds in the US.
- Increases limits for individual donations to political parties (from $34k to $340k per year).
- $1.1tn spending package backed by both parties in Dec '14 to avoid government shutdown, but characterised by populist rebellions on both sides of political spectrum.
- Conservatives angry about Obama's immigration policy (which shields millions of unauthorised immigrants from deportation).
- Liberals angry about provision that helps Wall St. by easing derivatives rules.
- An unconventional monetary policy used by central banks to boost the economy when standard monetary easing has become ineffective.
- Standard monetary easing = buying SHORT-TERM government bonds from the market in order to push/keep short-term interest rates at a specified target value (no longer works when short-term rates close to zero).
- QE = buying specified amounts of MEDIUM-TERM AND LONG-TERM government bonds from the market (results in higher price of these bonds and therefore a lower interest rate).
- New 2/3rds majority won by Japan's ruling coalition (LDP + Komeito) in a very low turnout (around 52%) election.
- Election viewed as a referendum on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policy (Abenomics).
- Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) retained its House of Representatives majority (and will govern with the Buddhist-backed Komeito party after they together won 325 seats out of 475).
- Europe in recession so European Central Bank (ECB) needs to do something to boost growth by injecting liquidity into system.
- Available tools are:  Quantitative Easing (purchasing bonds of longer maturity than short-term govt. bonds)  Cocktail of other monetary policy tools like buying short-term bonds, asset-backed securities and covered bonds, and auctioning cheap cash to eurozone banks.
- Thusfar German Bundesbank has been against  but  doesn't seem to be working so well. Consensus is that chances of  occurring are increasing, especially as EU growth slows and US growth picks up.