Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill

Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill
© Getty Images

IT'S EXISTENTIAL: Democrats on Friday warned of the "existential threat" posed by climate change, hammering President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE's inaction on the topic while vowing to move aggressively next year on legislation designed to tackle the global issue.

"The reality of the crisis has to be met with the actuality of action that we take," Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Attacking the Affordable Care Act in the time of COVID-19 DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters in the Capitol, calling it "the existential threat to this generation."

Pelosi was joined by a group of Democrats who also participated this week in a climate summit in Madrid, where world leaders, scientists, businesses and environmental activists gathered for talks aimed at boosting the 2015 Paris climate accord, the Obama-era pact forged to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.


Trump has promised to pull the United States out of that landmark agreement, claiming it would threaten America's economy. Pelosi and other congressional Democrats attended the Madrid summit in large part to reassure the other participants in the accord that Trump's position is no indication the United States is abandoning the effort.

"The world was hungry for that," said Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' MORE (D-R.I.), who was also on the trip.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, delivered a similar message.

"It's not only an issue of survival for species and for human beings, it is an issue that deals with the economics and the future generations of this country. And this visit reaffirms ... the fact that we have a role — a principled role — in the fight against climate change," Grijalva said.

He added that "the fact that this administration has chosen not to" is not "the will or the desire of the American people."

Upon retaking the Speaker's gavel this year, Pelosi created a special panel -- the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis -- to examine the threat posed by a warming planet and draft a report outlining remedies.

That report will be released next spring, said Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorOvernight Energy: Military sees surge in sites contaminated by 'forever chemicals' | USDA closes office wing due to coronavirus | Watchdog raises concerns over Trump energy regulator Biden seeks to capitalize on Super Tuesday surprise M ad buy praises swing-district Democrats' environmental work MORE (D-Fla.), who chairs the panel, and Democrats will move afterwards to transfer those recommendations into targeted legislation.


"We're running out of time," Castor said, lamenting the "leadership vacuum" in the White House.

That legislation is almost certainly dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Struggling states warn coronavirus stimulus falls short Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike MORE (R-Ky.) has long defended the coal and other fossil fuel industries from the imposition of tougher environmental standards.

Read more here.


TGIF! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. 

Scheduling note. This is Miranda Green's last day at The Hill and writing this newsletter. Wish her farewell and continue to follow her next steps out West at @mirandacgreen. Becca is off next week, and so too will be the newsletter. It will return Dec. 17.

Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch, rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch and @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.


BLAME THE LIGHTING: President Trump on Friday joked that White House staff will have to change out lightbulbs in a few rooms because the new bulb "gives you an orange look."

"The new bulb is many times more expensive, and, I hate to say it, it doesn't make you look as good," Trump said during a White House meeting focused on deregulation efforts.

"Of course, being a vain person that's very important to me," he added, prompting laughter in the room. "It gives you an orange look. I don't want an orange look. Has anyone noticed that?"

"So we'll have to change those bulbs out at least a couple of rooms where I am in the White House," Trump quipped.

The president has made similar remarks before in needling an Obama-era rule that imposed energy efficiency standards on lightbulbs.


Trump joked during a House Republican retreat in September that the products make him look orange. He quipped days before that during a campaign rally in North Carolina that he feels he looks better under incandescent lights.

The Trump administration in September finalized the reversal of the Obama administration's efficiency standards on light bulbs. The new rule will eliminate the energy efficiency standards for half the bulbs on the market, which critics say will hasten the effects of climate change by increasing U.S. energy usage.

Read more on Trump's remarks here.


PFAS SET BACK: Democratic-championed provisions in the annual defense policy bill that would regulate cancer-linked "forever chemicals" have been pulled from the final version of the bill, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee confirmed Friday.

Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Energy: Military sees surge in sites contaminated by 'forever chemicals' | USDA closes office wing due to coronavirus | Watchdog raises concerns over Trump energy regulator Military sees surge in sites with 'forever chemical' contamination Stock market plunge should incentivize firms to develop a coronavirus cure MORE (D-Wash.) told reporters that negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are all but done, with the conference report only needing to be printed before negotiators' signatures are gathered.

Negotiations on the bill had been tripped up for months over issues including President Trump's border wall and Space Force. In recent weeks, provisions regulating a class of chemicals known as PFAS, which have been leaching into the water supply near military sites, also emerged as a major stumbling block.


"We did not get what we wanted on PFAS because the Republicans refused to give it to us," Smith said. "I strongly support listing this is a toxic substance and letting EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency] go to work. That's what the Republicans refused to do."

Ultimately, Smith added, the issue falls outside the jurisdiction of the NDAA, which made Democrats' stance harder to defend after Republicans said they would not sign the conference report with the language in the bill.

Read more here.



Cities are banning natural gas in new homes, citing climate change, CBS News reports.

Officials say a gas explosion in an apartment block in Slovakia killed at least five, The Washington Post reports.


Thousands gather for change climate protests in Madrid, BBC News reports.


ICYMI: Stories from Friday...

-Trump quips that new lights bulbs don't make him look as good

-EPA to resume contract negotiations with employee union

-Zambia warns climate change has led to worst drought in a century

-House-passed 'forever chemicals' regulations pulled from defense bill

-Pelosi warns of 'existential' climate threat, vows bold action

-Climate protesters block DC streets, demand World Bank lead fossil fuel divestiture