mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Paris Stunner: 1.5 C Target On Table

I believe I was the first to report this from the Paris climate summit: in a historic victory for climate activists and the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations, negotiators are moving towards including a temperature rise target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels–a goal that was ridiculed six years ago at the Copenhagen summit:… Read more


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Grassroots Activism Opens Door to Paris Success

In this curtain raiser before the Paris climate summit, I report on the activist successes–notably, defeating the Keystone XL pipeline–that reveal the growing power of civil society to reverse the march towards climate catastrophe:… Read more

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Exxon’s Alleged Climate Lies Dwarf Big Tobacco’s

Exxon’s alleged lies about the danger its products pose to a livable climate have already cost companies and investors throughout the economy billions of dollars, with much worse to come. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed the oil giant, but Wall Street remains silent. Why?… Read more

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Welcome Surprises Before Paris Climate Summit

This reporter has covered international climate negotiations since the Earth Summit in 1992, and they usually have disappointing outcomes. But the upcoming Paris summit may be different, judging from the surprising mix of good (and, yes, some bad) news I describe in The Nation:… Read more


Exxon Knew, Say New Investigative Reports

Guest hosting KALW public radio’s “Your Call” program, I interview journalists from the Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News whose separate investigations revealed that ExxonMobil knew, from its own scientists, by the mid-1980s that climate change was real, dangerous and caused by burning carbon-based fuels. But the oil giant allegedly denied the truth to protect its profits. Hear how the journalists got one of the most important climate stories ever reported:… Read more

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Shell’s Arctic Retreat and Climate Activism

Think Shell’s retreat from oil drilling in the Arctic was just a function of low current oil prices? That’s how most mainstream media reports framed it. Do they have any real reporters on the business beat any more? By its own admission, Shell was also motivated by politics. Read my Daily Beast review of Wen Stephenson’s impassioned, beautifully written new book on the emerging climate justice movement to see how activism helped force Shell’s hand:… Read more

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Latest Book


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.