mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author

mark

The $28 Trillion Climate Write-Down

I have the lead story in this week’s issue of Businessweek, drawing attention to president Obama’s (oddly overlooked) recent statement that, yes, two-thirds of the earth’s fossil fuels must be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic amounts of climate change: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-06-26/climate-change-and-the-two-thirds-imperative#r=nav-r-story/. This strikes me as by far the most important statement Obama has made about climate change during his presidency: if enacted, it would revolutionize global energy practices; halt all exploration for additional deposits of fossil fuels; effectively rule out fracking (the whole purpose of which is to access those two-thirds of reserves that conventional drilling can’t get); and affirm the importance of the fossil… Read more

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Will Jerry Brown Frack California?

The latest climate science says humanity must leave two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground, unburned, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. This imperative in effect rules out fracking–the practice of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to force previously inaccessible oil and gas to the surface–because fracking is all about accessing those two-thirds of reserves. All of which creates a dilemma for governor Jerry Brown, a self-identified climate champion who nevertheless allows fracking in California. See my print piece The Nation here: http://www.thenation.com/article/180303/if-jerry-brown-so-green-why-he-allowing-fracking-california/. Radio versions of the story aired locally on KALW, one of the two NPR stations in the Bay… Read more

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Honest, But Constructive, Talk on Climate Change

After I posted my Harper’s piece on Monday pointing out how Obama’s moving of the goalposts made the new EPA carbon regulations much less ambitious than claimed, I was dismayed that some readers viewed my piece as an attack on the regulations, others as demonstrating the futility of demanding government action at all. In this new piece for The Nation, I respond, “To write honestly and constructively about climate change in 2014 is as challenging as it is necessary,” and I try to show how:… Read more

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Moving the Goalposts Undercuts Obama’s New Carbon Regulations

The Obama administration is moving the goalposts again on climate policy, which helps explain why presidential adviser John Podesta predicts (in a 7,000 word forthcoming article of mine in Harper’s) that History will judge Obama’s record on climate change as sadly insufficient. I preview the article (from the magazine’s July 2014 issue, on sale next week) in this Harper’s online post, which explains that under the correct goalposts the 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that the administration is now promising shrinks to a mere 7.7 percent:… Read more

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New Orleans Drops Charges in Mother’s Day Shootings

I was one of 20 people sent to hospital when gunmen sprayed bullets into a second line parade last Mother’s Day in New Orleans, as I described here: http://www.thenation.com/article/174325/i-got-shot-new-orleans/. As the one year anniversary of the shootings approached, I learned that all 20 attempted murder charges filed in the case had been dropped. They were replaced with federal drug and gun charges, a decision mayor Mitch Landrieu defended in an interview with me: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/09/twenty-of-us-were-shot-on-mother-s-day-but-new-orleans-dropped-the-attempted-murder-charges.html/…. Read more

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Earth Day’s Lesson: Protest To Survive

The unsung history of Earth Day shows that public protest, more than public opinion, is what delivers real progress. I explain further in the lead piece for The Nation’s special Earth Day issue, which features wall-to-wall coverage of the climate challenge. See especially the pieces by Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit and Wen Stephenson. And as you ponder the climate crisis, remember: if you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own!… Read more

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Latest Book

HOT

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.

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