The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

Obama Halts Arctic Oil Leases and Undoing It Won’t Be Simple for Trump

No new offshore oil and gas leases will be offered in the Alaskan Arctic through 2022, according to a new five-year plan for offshore drilling released Friday by the Obama administration. President-elect Donald Trump could overturn the ban, but that could take years and may not draw much industry interest if oil prices stay low.

The Interior Department’s five-year plan laid out all of the proposed auctions for drilling rights on the outer continental shelf of the United States. It allowed for no leases between 2017 and 2022 in the Beaufort or Chukchi seas, Arctic waters north and west of Alaska.

Climate Change’s Most Vulnerable Nations Vow to Run Entirely on Renewable Energy

MARRAKECH, Morocco—As talks on implementing last year’s landmark climate treaty closed in Marrakech, a group of 47 developing countries that are highly vulnerable to the climate crisis announced their intention to run on 100 percent renewable energy “as rapidly as possible.”

They said this ambition is crucial to their survival in a warming world, as well as an example to other, more prosperous nations.

“We aim to survive and thrive,” wrote the member countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in a two-page decision adopted Friday at the climate talks. They also reaffirmed their commitment to keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, the most ambitious climate target of the Paris agreement.

Germany Reasserts Climate Leadership, Outlines Path to Carbon-Neutral Economy by 2050

Germany, seeking to reassert leadership on climate action and help build political momentum, spelled out its plan this week to effectively stop using fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 80 and 95 percent by mid-century.

As the world’s fourth-largest economy and a global leader in clean energy, Germany hoped to provide some optimism at the global climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco in the face of uncertainty over what the U.S. policies will be with Donald Trump as president.

“By 2050, the whole German economy will be fully renewable,” said Jochen Flasbarth, the state secretary for the Ministry of Environment.

Message to Trump? Countries say climate fight ‘irreversible’

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Government delegates meeting for U.N. climate talks reiterated their commitment to the Paris Agreement with a proclamation Thursday saying climate action is “irreversible,” the buzzword at the two-week conference after the uncertainty caused by the U.S. election.

The proclamation calls for “the highest political commitment to combat climate change” and reaffirms the promise by rich countries to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to help poor countries deal with it.

President-elect Donald Trump pledged during his campaign to “cancel” U.S. involvement in last year’s Paris deal and to cut off American funding for U.N. global warming programs.

If Trump Quits, California could apply to join UN climate Talks

Asked by Climate Home on Thursday if the golden state could replace the United States, California senate leader Kevin De Leon said it was an “option that I want to keep open”.

Legal experts at Harvard and Yale were already researching if a sub-national body could join the UN climate talks he said, but added this would be a “political decision”.

“We will continue to be active in the international movement to address climate change,” said De Leon, who branded Trump’s threat to the UN process as a “jobs killer”.

The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends

Political people in the United States are watching the chaos in Washington in the moment. But some people in the science community are watching the chaos somewhere else — the Arctic.

It’s polar night there now — the sun isn’t rising in much of the Arctic. That’s when the Arctic is supposed to get super-cold, when the sea ice that covers the vast Arctic Ocean is supposed to grow and thicken.

But in fall of 2016 — which has been a zany year for the region, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice — something is totally off. The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.

During Sandy, Wetlands Averted US $625-Million in Damages

In 2012, tropical cyclone Sandy made landfall in the United States’ northeastern coast, killing scores and causing extensive damage. The storm went on to become the second costliest cyclone in US history, after Hurricane Katrina. But as new research shows, it could have been much worse. Confirming their long-argued role as natural defenses, scientists calculated that coastal wetlands prevented as much as US $625-million in property damage during the storm.

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