Putting Science to Work. Changing History.
For nearly half a century, the Union of Concerned Scientists has put rigorous scientific analysis to work to build a healthy plantet and a safer world.
UCS was founded in 1969 by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That year, the Vietnam War was at its height and Cleveland’s heavily polluted Cuyahoga River had caught fire. Appalled at how the U.S. government was misusing science, the UCS founders drafted a statement calling for scientific research to be directed away from military technologies and toward solving pressing environmental and social problems.
We remain true to that founding vision. Throughout our history, UCS has followed the example set by the scientific community: we share information, seek the truth, and let our findings guide our conclusions.
It’s a powerful formula.
By mobilizing scientists and combining their voices with those of advocates, educators, business people, and other concerned citizens, UCS has built a reputation for fairness and accuracy and amassed an impressive history of accomplishments.
Here are just a few of our recent victories:
- In 2014, UCS played a key role in winning international protections for rainforests that will keep at least 300 million tons of global warming emissions from the atmosphere each year. That’s equivalent to shutting down more than 60 dirty, coal-fired plants.
- In 2013, UCS played a key role in helping the Obama administration pass tough emissions and fuel economy standards for new cars and trucks that, by 2030, will keep more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. That’s equivalent to taking 41 million of today’s cars and trucks off the road.
- In 2012, UCS won a major legislative victory in Congress with the unanimous passage of a bill that explicitly affords whistleblower protection to scientists and others who expose the distortion or suppression of federal scientific data. The landmark bill recognizes for the first time that censorship of federal information about public health and safety can be as harmful as other types of fraud and abuse in government.
- In 2011, UCS helped win a precedent-setting renewable energy victory in California, convincing the state to require at least one-third of its electricity to be produced from clean, renewable sources by 2020. UCS continues to push hard for new, strong renewable energy standards across the nation and to defend the more than 29 renewable standards we’ve helped enact.
Our accomplishments stretch back decades:
- The first UCS report exposed the drawbacks of the Nixon administration’s plans for an anti-ballistic missile system. That effort helped build public support for the 1972 U.S.-Soviet Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty—a landmark in nuclear arms control.
- Two months before the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident, UCS called upon the government to shut down the facility and 15 other nuclear reactors, based on analysis showing that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had dramatically understated the probability of an accident. Ever since Three Mile Island’s partial core meltdown, federal, state, and local officials have looked to UCS for unbiased information about the safety of nuclear power plants.
- In the 1980s, our research and public education campaign alerted the public to the dangers of the Reagan administration’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative. Our effortshelped force the government to scale back the program.
- In the early 1990s, as the scientific evidence of human-caused global warming was becoming clear and just beginning to attract public attention, UCS brought together 700 members of the National Academy of Sciences to urge all nations to initiate climate change solutions. UCS continues to be a respected, leading voice on the urgent need for climate action today.
- In 2004, UCS sounded the alarm about the Bush administration’s unprecedented censorship, manipulation, and misrepresentation of science with a petition signed by more than 17,000 U.S. scientists. The effort drew widespread public support and led to an array of pathbreaking federal initiatives to ensure scientific integrity in the government.
See a more complete timeline of UCS accomplishments.