Overnight Energy: Students around globe demand climate action | EPA bans consumer sales of deadly chemical in paint strippers | Green New Deal set for Senate vote

Overnight Energy: Students around globe demand climate action | EPA bans consumer sales of deadly chemical in paint strippers | Green New Deal set for Senate vote
© Getty Images

YOUTH ACTIVISTS PROTEST ACROSS GLOBE FOR CLIMATE ACTION: Protests erupted across the globe on Friday led by youth activists demanding governments take action to thwart the inevitable effects of climate change.

From Israel to South Africa to the U.S., thousands of student protesters rallied at school campuses and civic centers asking for federal and international action to address global warming -- the effects of which could greatly impact younger generations.

In Washington, D.C., protesters from the Youth Strike for Climate rallied outside the Capitol holding signs with slogans such as, "You can't comb over climate change."


In Cape Town, students in uniforms held signs, one which read, "Denial is not a policy."

In Lebanon, a sign at a rally announced, "You really know how to make me cry when you make those oceans rise."

In Hong Kong, it was reported that Friday's climate strike amounted to the city's largest environmental rally in history, with an estimated 1,000 students taking to the streets holding signs including one reading, "Our children will be endangered species."

In many instances, students skipped school to attend protests.

The global rallies were sparked in part by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teen, whose solo protesting last August helped spark a massive movement to combat climate change.

Thunberg started refusing to go to school in August as a way to draw attention to climate change. She reportedly handed out leaflets outside Parliament with the message, "I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future."

Her global activism and foundation of the Youth Strike for Climate garnered her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination Thursday.

Troubling reports from UN: Friday's protest also comes the same week that the United Nations released two new scientific reports warning that the effects of global warming and sea level rise may be even more unavoidable than previously measured.

One report released Wednesday found that even if carbon emissions were to be cut off entirely today, it would not be enough to stop temperatures in the Arctic from rising 3 to 5 degrees Celsius from 1986-2005 levels by 2050.

020 Democrat joins in: In the U.S. at least one presidential hopeful jumped in on the protest action.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who is running on a platform of climate policy, rallied with students at Columbia University, calling it a "moment of great promise."

"You give the world is hope, and we need hope right now," he said.

He said the student protesters offered many gifts to older generations and "naysayers."

Read more here.


TGIF! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow me on Twitter: @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.


Congress is out next week, but we'll still be here every evening providing you with the day's energy and environment news.


EPA BANS CONSUMER SALES OF LETHAL CHEMICAL FOUND IN PAINT STRIPPERS: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is banning a deadly chemical, often used in paint strippers, from being sold to consumers after a long campaign from safety advocates.

The EPA said Friday that it was putting forth a final rule to remove the chemical methylene chloride from the retail consumer marketplace and prohibit the manufacturing, importation and processing of the chemical for consumer use.

Consumer advocates and environmentalists have long argued that methylene chloride is dangerous for humans to handle, linking it to a number of child and worker deaths.

Trump administration officials over the past two years have met with advocates and family members of individuals whose deaths were linked to the chemical to discuss ways to better regulate the substance.

"Families have lost loved ones from exposure. Methylene chloride can rapidly cause dizziness, loss of consciousness and death -- EPA is especially concerned of use in enclosed spaces," said Alexandra Dunn, EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety, on a call with reporters Friday.

"We answered the call for many affected families to ensure that no other families experience the death of someone close to them from this chemical."

Not a full ban: EPA's decision stops short of a full ban, leaving the door open for commercial sales of the chemical to industry.

Instead the agency said it will begin a 60-day public comment period that could lead to training certification and a limited access program for industry use of the substance.

"We understand the concerns with the workplace applications and use of this product and that's why today we're looking at a training program," said Dunn.

"What we are trying to do is something quite novel and innovative and would be almost unprecedented: an enforceable federal workplace training program for this chemical."

Reaction: Advocacy groups denounced the decision to keep open the door for commercial use of the chemical, arguing that work deaths from the substance have been common.

"The Trump administration will be partly to blame when the next worker is injured or dies as a result of being exposed to this extremely dangerous chemical," said Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney at the Environmental Working Group, in a statement.

"Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his EPA should use their authority under the revamped toxics law to protect all Americans from further exposure to methylene chloride. Instead they are catering to the wishes of the chemical industry."

Read more here.


ICYMI LAST NIGHT... MCCONNELL TEES UP VOTE ON GREEN NEW DEAL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump faces crucial decisions on economy, guns Are Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' MORE (R-Ky.) is setting up a fight over the Green New Deal later this month.

McConnell, wrapping up the Senate's work for the week on Thursday, scheduled a procedural vote on the progressive resolution for after the chamber returns from a one-week recess.

Senators left Thursday and will return to Washington on March 25. The Senate will vote on whether or not to take up the Green New Deal resolution after they wrap up consideration of a circuit court nominee.

McConnell initially said he would force a vote on the Green New Deal before the August recess, before saying it would come up before the Senate left town for two weeks in April.

GOP senators said earlier this week that they expected it to get a vote during the last week in March.

The Green New Deal will need 60 votes to get over the procedural hurdle, something it stands little chance of doing in a GOP-controlled Senate where most Democrats are expected to vote present and Republicans won't support it.


The Green New Deal, spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Pro-Trump Republican immigrant to challenge Dem lawmaker who flipped Michigan seat 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.), strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while creating millions of "good, high-wage jobs." But Republicans have seized on it as they hunt for attack fodder for the 2020 presidential election; several Senate Democrats are vying for their party's nomination.

McConnell blasted the progressive proposal from the Senate floor Wednesday, calling it an example of "garden-variety 20th-century socialism."

"Our Democratic colleagues have taken all the debunked philosophies of the last hundred years, rolled them into one giant package, and thrown a little green paint on them to make them look new. But there's nothing remotely new about a proposal to centralize control over the economy and raise taxes on the American people to pay for it," he said.

Read more here.



California is drought free for first time in seven years, The Hill reports

Interior finalizes plan to ease restrictions on sage grouse land, The Denver Post reports

Venezuela's oil industry at risk of collapse, CNN reports



Check out Friday's stories...

-EPA bans consumer sales of lethal chemical found in paint strippers

-Youth activists across globe protest for climate action

-California is drought free for first time in seven years

-Dems introduce bill to protect science research from political interference

-McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal