“Heroism fatigue”: another hurdle for U.S. climate change action?

January 11, 2010

GERMANY/Could “heroism fatigue” be yet another bump in the road for any U.S. law to curb climate change? And what is “heroism fatigue” anyway?

To Paul Bledsoe of the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy, heroism fatigue is what happens when the Congress has spent most of the year doing something heroic, like trying to hammer out an agreement on healthcare reform, when what lawmakers might rather be doing is naming a new post office. Following one big, gnarly piece of legislation with another — like a bill to limit climate-warming carbon dioxide — can seem daunting.

“Especially Democrats want to get ┬áback to some meat-and-potatoes job-creation stuff,” Bledsoe says. “They’re going to need a little time after healthcare.”

Congressional down-time doesn’t sound like part of the Obama administration’s game plan on climate and energy. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said last week that the president expects a comprehensive bill on this in 2010. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech to Congress could be a good barometer of how much he wants this, as my colleague Richard Cowan wrote. The speech has yet to be scheduled, but is expected within the next few weeks.

Bledsoe, whose organization looks for consensus on such complex issues as climate change, said agreement on a climate bill is possible. “An energy bill with robust climate provisions that focuses on job creation seems a bill that could gain bipartisan support in this economic environment.” By contrast, a bill styled as mainly combating climate change with energy issues added in “could have a hard time with unemployment at 10 percent,” Bledsoe said.

To get a law to Obama’s desk, there’s going to have to be a “deliberate conscious attempt at reaching out to moderates of both parties,” Bledsoe said.

It’s early days on this, so let the handicapping begin! What’s your best estimate of when or if Congress can craft a workable measure to combat climate change? This year? If so, when?

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (Protestors dressed as carbon dioxide molecules, in Essen, Germany, June 1, 2007, as part of the initiative ‘ByeBye CO2′ against carbon dioxide pollution.)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Heroism fatigue? Reuters: Find and hire new writers.

Posted by Russo1776 | Report as abusive

The Scientists who blame Co2 and Carbon and several other items appear to be singing their tune against Mother Nature herself It sounds very much like a rather toxic prescription to life on Earth itself. Which if carried to lits logical political extremes (which always happens) The induvudual or racial group which cannot pay its arbon Tax will be eliminated (dead). The Co2? Without it we have no food on the Earth , no mann or woman either.

Posted by jackolantyrn356 | Report as abusive

Frankly, I personally feel that I am not alone with the opinion that enough is enough. The citizens of these United States of America are getting roughed up by our leaders and those citizens who own/lead the major banking, insurance, pharmaceutical and defense corporations. These corporations are sucking the treasure from individuals and their government.
This country’s middle class is fatigued. Forget the politicians who are finally working their butts off and perhaps earning their paycheck. We’re fatigued economically, and emotionally(how many wars have we fought these last 100 years?). We’re fatigued when we see the promise of our retirement fade away. We’re approaching exhaustion. If you notice that perhaps there is increasingly less enthusiasm for leading the world for anything other then salvaging our jobs and minding our own business, then you’ve detected a measure of our fatigue.


Posted by Guddy | Report as abusive

Abysmal healthcare “reform”, carbon credits, bank bailouts, war – the daily bread of American career politicians – what’s the connection between these charades and heroism? There isn’t one, because real heroes don’t swindle. Neither do they fatigue easily, nor brook distraction.

When neither party stands for anything, there’s always the sleight of hand known as bipartisanism, and blame games for lack thereof, to fall back on for lack of courage while windfall wealth accrues to the same old players. Pollution, like bad healthcare, is just another issue to be suffocated in DC.

Bipartisanism is the mating call of political zombies. Big, gnarly pieces of legislation are precisely what cowards, ventriloquists and embezzlers need to hide behind, evidence that heroism has yet to emerge from Washington DC.

Real heroism would mean opposing, not mindlessly going with the prevailing flow of corporatist effluent. Bring some on.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

Guddy..I agree.

Tracy, Status Now

Posted by Tracy9999 | Report as abusive

1 500 000 000 muslims and their leaders are wearing down the rest of the world and its resources and leading the US and its 42 allies up the garden path, China has timed this and now has to rescue the world economy, which the US self-admittedly screwed up. I am tired, dead tired.

Posted by Ghandiolfini | Report as abusive

I feel loath to point out, Dear Reuters Administrators, the dismaying uptick in inane and bloviating comments appearing beneath your stories.

Had you not locked commenting abilities away to all but those with the mental DispOsiTioN to give away their personal information to you for “market research purposes” in creating an account on your new site perhaps you would see more environmentalists or policy students weighing in, instead of braying lunatics and talk radio enthusiasts.

Let’s see if it makes your popularity suffer…

Posted by Flibbleshtibits | Report as abusive

The average citizen in the United States is getting angry. There have been far too many lies – the Himalaya’s Glaciers will be gone by 2035, Greenland ice will be metled in 20 years. Winters without cold… Yes, no more cold in winter. Officials promise billions and the UN wants trillions. The advocates who demand immediate action get proved wrong and again and the UN says it’s only one mistake.

Cap and Trade is nonsense. The US people don’t owe the world anything. The more advocates howl about the end of the world the more they become a joke. The only people who benefit by global warming are the super rich who are using the issue to move more industries to the Third World, where they can pay slave wages, no health benefits and where there are no real pollution control laws or enforcement.

Posted by Harnes | Report as abusive