mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


How Growers Gamed California’s Drought

Some of California’s wealthiest agribusiness men are literally “smiling all the way to the bank,” despite the record drought now entering its fourth year. Agriculture uses a staggering 80 percent of California’s developed water, yet Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory water restrictions, the first in state history, targeted only urban and suburban users. What’s really needed, water experts say, is to price this precious commodity realistically, I report in The Daily Beast:… Read more


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Jerry Brown’s Climate Problem

Jerry Brown has done more to fight climate change than perhaps any other elected official in the US. But can the California governor truly be a world class climate champion if he doesn’t reject fracking, especially now that science says we have to leave at least two-thirds of the earth’s known reserves of fossil fuels in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe? One day before activists pressed Brown on these questions at a “March for Real Climate Leadership in Oakland,” the Los Angeles Times published my op-ed:… Read more

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Soon No Drinking Water in Sao Paolo?

Will Sao Paolo, Brazil, with its 20 million inhabitants become the world’s first mega-city to run out of water? That’s among the key questions I discuss in this Global Post news analysis previewing 2015, a year that nevertheless could prove a turning point in the fight to preserve a livable… Read more

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Happy Friday! In 3 Minutes We All Die

The Nobel Laureate scientists at the Doomsday clock say that “failed political leadership” on climate change and nuclear weapons “endangers every person on Earth,” I report in The Nation:… Read more

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World Exclusive: Greenpeace ‘Fesses Up

Greenpeace provides Peruvian authorities with the names of four of the activists who vandalized the Nazca Lines World Heritage Site during the December 2014 UN climate talks in Lima, an action that outraged the people and government of Peru, shocked Greenpeace’s supporters, and gave the activist group its worst PR black eye in its 40 years of high-visibility protest. I broke the story first in Businessweek: I also discussed the story on the national radio program, The World:… Read more

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Climate Superpowers Setting Carbon Price: That’s A Game Changer

Nearly everyone agrees that the U.S.-China climate announcement is a big deal, but most observers have overlooked what truly makes it a game-changer: if the world’s two climate change superpowers limit their greenhouse gas emissions, it will have the economic effect of putting a de facto price on carbon. The resulting increase in the market price of oil, coal, natural gas, and other carbon-based fuels really could change everything. But this will only happen if the two superpowers make good on their promises: if the U.S. refrains from pursuing such carbon-intensive projects as the Keystone XL oil pipeline and China indeed peaks its coal consumption by 2020, as the energy plan released by the State Council on November 19 forecast. It’s Economics 101: limit the supply of a… Read more

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Latest Book


Hertsgaard’s latest book, HOT, describes how his five year old daughter and the rest of Generation Hot can cope with the massive climate impacts that are now inevitable. Packed with eyewitness reporting on existing solutions for "avoiding the unmanageable and managing the unavoidable," HOT shows how we all must think--and act--differently now in the fight against climate change. Read more

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About Mark

Called "one of America’s finest reporters" by Barbara Ehrenreich, Mark Hertsgaard is the author of six books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Earth Odyssey and On Bended Knee. He has covered climate change, politics and the media for leading media outlets around the world, including Vanity Fair, The Nation, Time, The New Yorker, NPR, L’espresso, Die Zeit and Le Monde Diplomatique.