Atmospheric methane levels are soaring -
Two new studies conclude that concentrations of methane in the atmosphere are rising faster now than at any point in the past two decades. No one is exactly sure of the source of the new methane, but agricultural expansion—especially new cattle pastures and rice paddies—is a prime suspect, along with leaking oil and gas operations. Vox
It’s a safe assumption that Pruitt could be the most hostile E.P.A. administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.
—Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, comments on Donald Trump's decision to appoint Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a close ally of the fossil fuel industry and a climate change denier.
Polar sea ice lost an area the size of India this year -
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the combined extent of polar sea ice on December 4 was about 3.84 million square kilometers below average—a record low for this time of year at both of the poles. The shrinkage comes after an unusually hot November in the Arctic, with temperatures climbing 20 degrees Celsius above normal on some days. Reuters
The Army Corps of Engineers denies a key permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline -
Energy Transfer Partners has not been granted an easement under Lake Oahe, and the decision essentially halts the construction of the highly controversial pipeline. The Army Corps now plans to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement and take public input. It's not over yet, but it is a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux, who have been fighting to protect their land and water from Big Oil for months. NPR
EPA to lock in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles -
The rules require automakers to nearly double fleet-wide fuel efficiency to more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The EPA has until April 2018 to decide whether or not to modify the standards, but the agency released a statement today saying it's moving to finalize the rules now—suggesting it wants to do so before Trump takes office. Reuters
Reince Priebus says climate denial is Trump's "default position" -
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, the president-elect's chief of staff clarified Trump's flip-flops over climate action. Though Trump told the New York Times he would keep an open mind about sticking to the Paris Agreement (after previously promising to withdraw from the international climate deal), Priebus says Trump will listen to others' views on the subject but his position is that climate change "is a bunch of bunk." ThinkProgress