November 1 – South Asia: INDIA
Smog in India’s capital, Delhi
The authorities in the Indian capital, Delhi, declare public health emergency after the city is wrapped with thick smog, with levels of dangerous particles in the air – known as PM2.5 – at over 10 times safe limits. They also close schools for several days, distribute millions of masks, and launch a mandatory car rationing system for the next 10 days. The system is supposed to lower pollution levels by allowing cars with odd or even number plates to be on the road only on alternate days.
(Nov 4): India’s Supreme Court accuses state governments of inaction to combat the pollution levels, and orders Delhi’s state government to produce data showing that the car rationing system actually works. Experts say that car pollution is only one factor for the recurring smog. Other factors include crop burning by farmers in neighboring states to clear fields, construction, and industrial emissions, as well as Delhi’s geographic location.
Delhi choked by dangerous smog (video 0:26 min)
November 5 – Global / North America / International Organizations:
UNITED STATES / UNITED NATIONS
The Paris Agreement
The United States begins the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement by sending a notice of intent to the United Nations. The process will be complete in November 2020. The Trump Administration says that the deal puts an “unfair economic burden” on the U.S. The decision of the U.S. withdrawal – one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – draws condemnation from other countries, as well as American environmentalists, politicians, and business leaders. In response, hundreds of local governments, businesses and organizations in the U.S. have joined the We Are Still In movement and have pledged to cut emissions and move to renewable energy.
Background: Signed in 2016, the Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to combat climate change and to accelerate the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The United States entered the agreement on 4 November 2016. As of 2019, 197 countries have become parties to the Convention. The Paris accord commits the signatory countries to keeping rising global temperatures below 2C above pre-industrial levels and attempting to limit them even more, to a 1.5C rise.
Climate change: How 1.5C degrees of global warming could change the world (video, 02:21 min)
November 10 – Latin America: BOLIVIA
Protests in Bolivia and resignation of Evo Morales
Following weeks of widespread and deadly protests in Bolivia, President Evo Morales announces his resignation after close to 14 years in power. When the Organization of American States (OAS) reported that the October election were manipulated, calling for the election to be annulled, the military stepped in and pressured Morales to resign. His supporters call it a coup, while his opponents celebrate.
(November 12): Morales flees to Mexico where he is granted asylum. The deputy head of the Senate, Jeanine Áñez, declares herself Acting President of Bolivia, which sparks more protests. She does so after Vice-President, Senate leader, and House of Deputies’ leader resigned. Under Bolivia’s constitution, she has 90 days to call new elections.
Background: Evo Morales is a former coca farmer and Bolivia’s first president from the country’s indigenous majority. He came to power in 2006 and introduced radical social program to address extreme poverty, social divisions, and inequalities. Under his leadership, the country’s GDP grew an average of 4.8 percent each year from 2004 to 2017, while the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty was more than halved from about 36 percent to 17 percent during that time. But eventually, he went back on commitments to safeguard the environment, giving priority to economic growth over the well being of protected lands and the people who live there. He also undermined the rule of law to seek reelection.
Further reading on the rise and fall of Evo Morales
November 11 – East Asia: CHINA / HONG KONG
Protests in Hong Kong
Violent anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong enter now the 24th week. The defiant protesters demand greater democracy and police accountability. Three people have died since the beginning of the protests. There are also clashes on university campuses. The territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, warns protesters they will not succeed in getting their demands. But protesters keep coming back the minute the riot police leave.
November 11 – Middle East / International Organizations:
IRAQ / UNITED NATIONS
Protests in Iraq
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is urging the government of Iraq to stop violence against anti-government protesters and introduce meaningful reforms. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been protesting across the country since October 1 during which security forces killed at least 319 people. People demand more jobs, an end to corruption, and better public services. The UN Mission calls on the Iraqi government and politicians to immediately release all peaceful demonstrators detained recently and prosecute those responsible for the excessive use of force. They also call on Iraq to fulfill the promise to pass electoral reform and hold early elections. The Iraqi economy has slowed down from 13.1 percent in 2016 to -2.1 percent in 2017 with unemployment at 16 percent.
November 13 – Latin America: CHILE
Protests in Chile
Angered by inequalities in the country, people in Chile continue mass anti-government protests and widespread strikes.
Demonstrations and clashes in Chile in pictures
November 18 – Latina America: BRAZIL
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reports that deforestation in Brazilian Amazon rainforest increased by 29.5 percent in 12 months from August 2018 to July 2019, the highest rate since 2008. During this period of time, the rainforest lost 3,769 square miles of its vegetation. Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsenaro, who supports development over environmental preservation, has questioned the INPE’s findings in the past. As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down global warming.
Climate change: How important is the rainforest in limiting global warming? (Video: 03:00 min.)
November 18: Middle East / North America:
ISRAEL / PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES / UNITED STATES
Reversal of the U.S. policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank
The United States declares that it no longer considers Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land of the West Bank to be illegal. These settlements are communities established by Israel on land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. This declaration marks rejection of 2016 United Nations resolution that settlements on the West Bank are a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law and the US legal position on the issue since 1978. It is also a renunciation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which outlaws transfers of population by an occupying power. By shifting its policy on this issue, the U.S. breaks with the position of most of its allies. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argues that the U.S. no longer views the Israeli settlements as inconsistent with international law and that it is for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate their status.
November 20 – Middle East: ISRAEL
Forming a government and indictment of Prime Minister
The leader of Israel’s Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, announces that he is unable to form a coalition government. He was given the mandate to form a government by President Reuven Rivlin after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also failed to form a government. Both leaders were unable to agree a power-sharing deal and who would serve as prime minister first. In this situation, any member of the Knesset (parliament) can lead the government if he/she will collect at least 61 signatures within the next 21 days. If this does not happen, Israel will hold another election. In the meantime, Netanyahu is serving as Israel’s caretaker prime minister.
(Nov 21): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in connection with three different cases. The charges allege that Netanyahu received gifts while in office, worked out a deal for favorable press coverage by one Israeli newspaper in exchange for backing a bill that would weaken a rival newspaper, and made regulatory decisions that favored one telecommunications group in exchange for positive coverage on the news website. He denies any wrongdoing.