mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


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: 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:…. 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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Can Generation Hot Avoid Its Fate?

I read the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report both as a journalist and as a father whose precious daughter just turned nine. The IPCC’s projections of what lies ahead for Chiara and the rest of Generation Hot left me feeling grief, fear, rage and frustration. But also a determination to resist, guided by Hope, always Hope…. Read more

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UN Climate Report: The Future Is Here

US media finally sound the climate alarm after the latest IPCC report, detailing how severe, worldwide impacts have already begun and threaten to spin “out of control” without urgent counter-measures. Adaptation will in any case be necessary. Read more in my Nation article:… Read more

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The Other Keystone

The Nation has just posted my article about Cove Point, the proposed liquid natural gas export facility that represents the next front in the escalating clash between President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy and the growing grassroots movement against fracking and climate change:…. 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 Drake—and unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches.

Pick up your copy at: | Barnes & Noble

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.