mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Huge Victory Against Tar Sands Pipeline

And now it’s official. The U.S. State Department just announced that it would delay making a decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline until after it had undergone extensive further review, including a search for an alternate routing. In effect, this puts off any decision until 2013 at the earliest and may well dooms the project, espeically if Obama is re-elected. Score another victory, and against very long odds, for street protests.

And not a moment too soon. The International Energy Agency released its annual World Energy Outlook report yesterday, which warned that the world has five years to make fairly radical changes in its fossil-fuel dominated energy infrastructure if we are to avoid irreversible climate change. What exactly the IEA–which is a very establishment-friendly organization–means by radical and irreversible is something about which I’m seeking clarification from IEA officials; I’ll share my findings in a piece for The Nation next week. But certainly blocking a climate-killing tar sands pipeline like the Keystone XL would seem to qualify as an excellent step forward!



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By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did: leak top secret documents revealing that the US government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it, the way he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same surveillance ten years before Snowden did and got crushed. The other is The Third Man, a former senior Pentagon official who comes forward in this book for the first time to describe how his superiors repeatedly broke the law to punish Drakeā€”and unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches.

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About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.