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BERLIN (AP) — The U.N.’s expert panel on climate change on Sunday highlighted the disconnect between international goals to fight global warming and what is being done to attain them.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must drop by 40-70 percent by 2050 to keep the global temperature rise below the 2-degree C (3.6-degree F) cap set in U.N. climate talks, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.
The opposite is happening now. On average global emissions rose by 1 gigaton a year between 2000 and 2010, outpacing growth in previous decades to reach “unprecedented levels” despite some efforts to contain them, the IPCC said.
“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, one of three co-chairs of the IPCC working group looking at ways to fight climate change.
The panel didn’t get into who should do what in the 33-page summary meant to serve as a scientific guide to governments negotiating a new climate agreement, which is supposed to be adopted next year.
Leaked drafts of that document showed the biggest reason for the rising emissions is the higher energy needs resulting from population growth and expanding economies in the developing world, mainly in China and other large countries. However, diagrams that illustrated that were deleted by governments in the final version that was adopted at a weeklong IPCC session in Berlin.
“The problem for the governments was that they felt that these different perspectives can cause harm for them because they can be made at different scales responsible for the emissions,” Edenhofer told The Associated Press.
The graphics divided the world into four categories — low, lower-middle, upper-middle and high income countries. Participants in the closed-door session said many developing countries objected to using such income categories.
In U.N. climate negotiations only two categories are used — developed and developing countries. The former want to scrap that firewall, saying China and other fast-growing economies can’t be compared to the least developed nations and must face stricter emissions cuts, while most developing countries want to keep it. It’s a major sticking point in the U.N. talks, and it spilled over into the IPCC session, participants said.
Diego Pacheco, the head of Bolivia’s delegation in Berlin, said developing countries worried that graphs with four income groups in the authoritative IPCC document would open the door for industrialized countries — whom they see as historically responsible for climate change — to reframe the discussion on how to share the burden of climate action.
“This is the first step for developed countries of avoiding responsibilities and saying all countries have to assume the responsibility for climate change,” he told AP.
Counting all emissions since the industrialized revolution in the 18th century, the U.S. is the top carbon polluter. China’s current emissions are greater than those of the U.S. and rising quickly. China’s historical emissions are expected to overtake those of the U.S. in the next decade.
There is plenty of material analyzing emissions from those and other perspectives in a larger scientific report that the IPCC will release this week, but it was kept out of the summary for policy-makers.
Oswaldo Lucon, a Brazilian scientist involved in the report, regretted that the diagrams were taken out, saying they are relevant to the “big picture.” He said China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia were among the countries opposing using them in the summary.
Underlying the arguments “was a whole history of discussions on who was going to foot the bill of environmental damage,” Lucon said.
Another IPCC report, released last month, warned that flooding, droughts and other climate impacts could have devastating effects on economies, agriculture and human health, particularly in developing countries.
Global temperatures have already risen about 0.8 C since record-keeping started in the 19th century. The IPCC said the goal of keeping the warming below 2 C by 2100 would require a significant shift in the energy system, away from oil and coal, which generate the highest emissions. That would mean a near-quadrupling of energy from zero- or low-carbon sources such as solar and wind power.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called it a global economic opportunity.
“So many of the technologies that will help us fight climate change are far cheaper, more readily available, and better performing than they were when the last IPCC assessment was released less than a decade ago,” Kerry said Sunday.
Turning to the costs of that transition, IPCC projected that it would reduce consumption growth would only be about 0.06 percentage points per year, adding that that didn’t take into account the economic benefits of reduced climate change.
“The cost is not something that’s going to bring about a major disruption of economic systems. It’s well within our reach,” IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri told AP. Delaying climate action would make it more costly, he added.
Current pledges by governments in U.N. climate talks to reduce or curb emissions by 2020 are setting the world on a path of 3 degrees C (5.4 F) of warming, the IPCC said. U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, who is leading those talks, urged countries to raise their collective ambition.
“The only safe path forward is to arrive at a carbon neutral world in the second half of this century,” Figueres said.
To meet the 2-degree target the world may have deploy new technologies to suck CO2 out of the air, the IPCC said. The most advanced right now is so-called bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. That means growing crops that absorb CO2, then burning them for energy, while capturing the CO2 emissions. The CO2 is then stored deep underground, resulting in a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
“We have the technologies,” said U.S. scientist Leon Clark, one of the authors of the report. “But we really have no sense of what it would take to deploy them at scale.”
Karl Ritter can be reached at www.twitter.com/karl_ritter
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CHALMETTE, La. (AP) — As the fourth anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster approaches, workers who cleaned up oil in the Gulf of Mexico are able to file claims for medical problems they developed after the spill.
But questions about their long-term health linger.
Research being done by the government’s National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences may one day provide answers. The agency is tracking the health of more than 30,000 of those workers, hoping someday to see if there are links between exposure to oil spills and chemical dispersants and any current or future illnesses guaranteed pay day loans.
The leader of that study has a midday news conference set Friday to discuss what researchers have found so far.
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More than half of the companies in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index that have reported second-quarter sales so far topped analyst estimates. That
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China has invested heavily in resource-rich Latin America in recent years, striking major trade deals with governments from Venezuela to Argentina. Now its president is reaching out to one of the few countries in the region where ties have been slow to develop: Mexico.
President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit starting Tuesday comes as Mexico debates opening its highly regulated energy sector to more foreign investment.
China’s president has said he plans to address Mexico’s large trade deficit with the Asian power and discuss ways to increase Mexican exports. Analysts say that could mean oil, which Mexico has and China needs to fuel its expanding economy and the cars of its growing middle class.
“Access to strategic raw materials is key to understanding the dynamic of relations with China,” said Hugo Beteta, director for Mexico and Central America of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Clearly there is an interest by China in Mexican oil.”
The trip is part of a four-country regional tour that ends in the United States. Xi started in Trinidad and Tobago, where he also met with leaders of other Caribbean countries, and he arrives Sunday night in Costa Rica.
China and Trinidad have had diplomatic ties for almost 40 years, and Trinidad is a major trading partner in the Caribbean for China. Costa Rica is the only country in Central America to have diplomatic relations with China.
U.S. trade still dwarfs China’s for the three countries Xi is visiting. But China’s trade with Costa Rica and with Mexico has tripled since 2006, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Relations with Mexico had been chilly in the past, especially when former President Felipe Calderon hosted the Dalai Lama in 2011, something China’s Foreign Ministry said “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and harmed Chinese-Mexican relations.”
President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December, has been aggressive so far about changing that, and the two new presidents reportedly hit if off on a personal level when Pena Nieto visited China and met with Xi in April. That resulted in an unusually quick diplomatic follow-up, just two months into Xi’s presidency.
During the April talks, Xi said “he is committed to working with Mexican authorities to help Mexico export more,” Mexico’s vice minister of foreign relations, Carlos de Icaza, told The Associated Press.
That’s key for Mexico, because its trade deficit with China is exploding, far surpassing that of any other Latin American nation.
While China is looking to assure supplies of raw materials, Mexico is looking to diversify its trade and investment, which have long been dominated by its superpower neighbor to the north.
“In the new global geopolitical and economic map, China is, and I think it has arrived to stay, the world’s second economic power,” De Icaza said. Mexico “has to understand and strengthen relations with a nation that has such great strategic value.”
De Icaza said the countries hope to sign at least a dozen agreements in the fields of trade, energy, tourism, science and technology during Xi’s visit.
Mexican exports to China came to a bit over $5.7 billion in 2012, while its imports from that country stood at almost $57 billion, according to statistics from Mexico’s Economy Department. Cell phones, video games and parts for electronics factories have been pouring into Mexico, which sends China minerals such as copper and lead.
Overall trade between China and Latin America has expanded quickly over the past decade and the continent now imports more from China than it does from the European Union, according to the U.N. economic agency for the region.
Many countries balance those imports by sending China raw materials: oil from Venezuela, copper from Chile, soybeans from Argentina. But Mexico’s exports go overwhelmingly to the huge U.S. market right on its border.
Beteta noted that China imports three-quarters of the oil it consumes.
“China needs to guarantee oil for its citizens’ cars, but also obviously for its economy as a whole, which has a high energy intensity, and Mexico is an oil power,” he said.
At the same time, Pena Nieto’s government has said that it will soon present an energy reform bill to allow greater national and international investment in its oil sector. It hasn’t revealed the details of the initiative, but Beteta said it “has awakened the appetite of many people.”
State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, already has taken small steps to increase its relationship with China, which until recently had been minimal.
Of the roughly 2.5 million barrels of crude that Pemex produces a day, about 1.2 million are exported. Energy ministry figures show that 75 percent of these exports go to the United States and about 7 percent to the “Far East.” It does not specify how much each specific country in that region receives.
In April, during Pena Nieto’s visit to China, Pemex signed its first long-term contract with a Chinese company, agreeing to ship 30,000 barrels a day to the state oil company Sinopec.
Mexico may have other goods and investment opportunities to offer as well.
“China is the principal consumer of coal, gas, oil, of secondary industries like cement, steel, concrete,” said Juan Carlos Rivera, director of the Center for Business with Asia at the private Monterrey Technological Institute. “Evidently (China) is looking to satisfy their market needs.”
Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said her country is looking for agreements in the areas of clean energy, public transportation and student exchanges after Xi arrives Sunday. The government also wants to give a final push to negotiations for the joint construction of a $1.3 billion refinery on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.
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The price of oil fell 2 percent to its lowest level in a month after OPEC stuck to its current production target despite ample supplies of crude.
U.S. crude oil futures fell $1.64 to close at $91.97 Friday in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for pricing oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, fell $1.80 to close at $100.39 in London.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. slipped less than a penny to $3.61 per gallon. Prices rose 10 cents during May, or 3 percent, mainly due to refinery problems in the Midwest. Still, May prices averaged less this year than they did in either of the last two years, according to AAA.
The automobile association expects the average price of gasoline to continue to slide, and fall below $3.50 a gallon in June.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Friday it would keep its official output target of 30 million barrels a day _ one third of the world’s daily consumption _ even though world oil supplies are abundant and some regions, including the majority of the European Union, are in recession.
At the end of a meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, OPEC said that steady prices in recent months showed that the market was “adequately supplied” and that no action was needed.
Oil prices have traded in a range between $88 and $98 per barrel through the first five months of the year. The average for the year is $94.01 per barrel, just 13 cents less than the 2012 average.
OPEC has been producing more oil than members agreed to, helping to boost global supplies. Analysts say that could lead to lower prices in the coming months.
“In view of the current oversupply and in the absence of any positive surprises from OPEC, oil prices are likely to remain under pressure,” said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
Prices are also being pressured by weak economic outlooks around the world. When economies slow, drivers, shippers and travelers use less gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to a record 12.2 percent in April, according to data released Friday. The region is mired in its longest recession since the shared currency was introduced in 1999.
The U.S. economy, meanwhile, grew at a modest 2.4 percent annual rate from January through March, slightly slower than initially estimated. That, teamed with higher oil production and the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles, has sent the nation’s oil supplies soaring.
The U.S. Energy Department said the nation’s supply of oil rose last week by 3 million barrels to 397.6 million barrels, the highest level since the government started collecting the data in 1978.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
_ Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to close at $2.76 a gallon.
_ Heating oil fell 6 cents to close at $2.78 per gallon.
_ Natural gas fell 4 cents to close at $3.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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) shares raced above $110 on Tuesday, up from $35 just three months ago. The stock has risen six-fold since its initial public offering in 2010.
“There seems to be some euphoria,” said Takuo Katayama, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets. “I don’t want to say it’s unjustified, but it’s getting there.”
The momentum kicked into high gear this month after Tesla reported a quarterly profit for the first time and its Model S received rave reviews from an influential trade publication.
Tesla also recently announced that it had repaid its government loans after raising $830 million in a secondary offering of stock and bonds.
The sale of new stock by a hot company usually leads to a temporary pullback after the additional shares hit the market. But Tesla’s shares continued to rise following the offering.
“It’s baffling,” said Katayama.
The rally was partly driven by investors buying back shares to cover bets that the stock will fall. But this so-called short squeeze was triggered by news that Tesla is on track to meet its sales goals for the year, said Ben Schuman, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities.
Tesla said in a letter to investors earlier this month that it was seeing “strong global demand” for the Model S, and is currently receiving orders “at a rate greater than 20,000 per year worldwide.”
Schuman said the stock could continue moving higher on upbeat headlines, including a rumored announcement on battery charging and the launch of the Model S in Europe and China later this year.
“All that said, the current stock price reflects flawless execution and has likely gotten ahead of itself,” Schuman cautioned.
Tesla is expected to merely break even this year quick payday loan. Schuman said Tesla’s profits in the first quarter were boosted by $11 million in accounting gains linked to warrants on government loans and emission credits Tesla received in California.
“When you back out those non-operational items, Tesla is still losing a lot of money,” said Schuman.
Still, investors are pricing the stock based on the expectation that Tesla will become a large-scale and profitable auto maker in the future, said Andrea James, an analyst at Dougherty & Company.
“Tesla is not trading the way normal auto company would,” said James. “But that’s fitting because it’s not a normal auto company.”
Shares of Tesla trade for more than 110 times 2014 earnings estimates. To put that into context, , Fortune 500) and , Fortune 500) are each valued at less than 10 times profit forecasts for next year. Japan’s ) and ) trade at price-to-earnings ratios in the mid-teens.
James said some investors believe Tesla shares could hit $120 in the near term based on expectations for the Model S and future Tesla vehicles, which are rumored to cost less than the Model S.
“The valuation is not crazy,” she said. “With these kinds of forward looking companies, the stock is always a few steps ahead.”
James added that investors have also been encouraged by the leadership of Elon Musk, who founded the company in 2003 and is Tesla’s largest shareholder. He is also the largest shareholder in clean energy company ), another stock that has soared this year.
“People used to ask me, ‘who is this guy?’” said James. “Now, investors are saying, ‘do I want to bet against Elon Musk?’”
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MIAMI—Defence lawyers for George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, will be barred from mentioning Martin’s marijuana use, fighting or high school suspension during opening arguments in Zimmerman’s trial, which begins June 10.
At a hearing in Seminole County court, Circuit judge Debra Nelson denied a string of defence motions Tuesday that sought to portray Martin as a troubled teenager with a propensity for fighting and an interest in guns. Prosecutors argued the evidence has nothing to do with the seven minutes that led to Martin’s death on Feb. 26, 2012. Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was killed by Zimmerman, who said he shot him in self-defence.
Mark O’Mara, a lawyer for Zimmerman, argued in court that Martin’s drug use could have made him more aggressive and paranoid, traits that could have prompted him to attack Zimmerman.
“All of that fits in squarely to what the defence is going to present: that George Zimmerman was put in the position that he had to act in self-defence,” O’Mara argued. “How could you keep us from arguing that?”
Nelson replied: “The rules of evidence keep you from doing it.”
The judge left open the possibility that some of this information, including Facebook postings and text messages, may come up at trial, but she set a high hurdle for the defence. Nevertheless, O’Mara viewed the decision as a victory, saying that it forces prosecutors to be careful in how they portray Zimmerman.
“You get ready for whatever battle they may throw at you, with the hope that most of your weapons stay in your quiver,” O’Mara said at a news conference after the hearing.
Nelson also called it a “logistical nightmare” to allow jurors to visit the gated community in Sanford, Fla., where Martin was shot. She denied that request. O’Mara said he wanted jurors to get a feel for the dark cut-through between two rows of townhouses in the spot where Martin was shot.
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BEIRUT—Two rockets struck the southern reaches of Beirut early Sunday, raising fears that spillover violence from the conflict in neighbouring Syria could be spreading to the Lebanese capital.
Four men were injured in the rocket strikes, officials said. All the injured were Syrian labourers at a used-car lot where one of the rockets struck. The other shell hit a nearby apartment building.
Authorities said the Grad rockets — known to be notoriously imprecise — were launched from an area about 10 kilometres away.
The attacks targeted a district where the Shiite militant group Hezbollah is a dominant force. That prompted speculation that the assault was linked to Hezbollah’s role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad in his nation’s civil war.
On Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a fiery speech vowing “victory” in Syria and pledging all-out support to Assad’s government. Many Sunni Muslims in Lebanon back the rebellion against Assad and resent Hezbollah’s intervention in the Syrian conflict free business cards.
Various Lebanese politicians condemned the attacks as an attempt to foment sectarian strife.
Until the Sunday morning strikes, Beirut had been largely immune from violence associated with the Syrian conflict.
In northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, however, running gun battles between pro- and anti-Assad factions have killed at least 25.
In another development, a rocket was fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel late Sunday night.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said the rocket was fired from a location near the southern town of Marjayoun, about 10 kilometres north of the Israeli border. It was not immediately clear who fired the rocket or whether it caused any damage or casualties.
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