UCS Mourns Death of Nobel Laureate, Board Member Mario J. Molina

Published Oct 9, 2020

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Mario J. Molina passed away on October 7, 2020 in Mexico City. Below is a statement by Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Board Chair Anne R. Kapuscinski, who is also the director of the Coastal Science and Policy Program and a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“We were devastated to learn of the death of our long-time board member and friend Mario J. Molina. Mario was best known for his work on the detrimental effects of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer for which he, along with F. Sherwood Rowland and Paul J. Crutzen, received a 1995 Nobel Prize. For UCS, he had been a humble and wise presence on our board of directors since 1997 and a stalwart advocate for addressing air pollution, climate change, and efforts that undermined science-based decisionmaking. 

“Mario was both an exceptional scientist and tireless advocate for science-based policies. He epitomized scientific integrity and rigor and was equally driven to see science applied to improve people’s lives. His work was fundamental to the development of the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty that phased out the use of CFCs globally and set the ozone layer on a path to full recovery by mid-century. This achievement helped the United States alone avoid 433 million cases of skin cancer and 63 million cases of cataracts. Similarly, he spent much of the last two decades helping his home city, Mexico City, reduce dangerous air pollution.

“Mario’s lifelong commitment to science and the public good included serving under President Obama on the Presidential Council of Advisors for Science and Technology. For UCS, he was always willing to lend his expertise and counsel to further our work on climate change and to fight back when scientific evidence was sidelined in government decisionmaking.

“We will miss his brilliance, his humility, and his humanity.”