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