mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


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:

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 fuel divestment campaign.


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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.

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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.