Union of Concerned Scientists

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The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) "is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices." [1]

"The Union of Concerned Scientists is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Founded in 1969, it was born out of a teach-in organized by a group of scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to protest the militarization of scientific research and promote science in the public interest." [2]

Support for a Moratorium on New Coal Plants

In a study released in October, 2008, the UCS called for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants that do not capture their carbon dioxide emissions. The authors of the study wrote that the United States should:

"Stop building new coal-fired power plants without CCS. Each new coal plant built without CCS represents a major long-term source of CO2. It is not safe to assume that new coal plants built today without CCS could cost-effectively add it later, because the cost of CCS (considerable even when included in the plant’s original design) would be much higher if added as a retrofit. The federal government should therefore adopt a strong performance standard limiting CO2 emissions from new coal plants, which will prevent the construction of any plant not employing CCS from the outset. Until such a policy is put in place, state regulators should evaluate proposed plants using a projected range of prices those plants would likely have to pay for their CO2 emissions under a capand-trade program." [3]

Agriculture & antibiotics

In 2001, the UCS announced that antibiotics in factory farms account for the overwhelming majority of all antibiotic use in the country. Dr. Margaret Mellon, is author of the UCS's report on anti-biotic use in livestock and the director of their food and environment program. [4] According to Dr. Mellon, her group "did not oppose using antibiotics to treat sick animals, but that it did oppose their use for promoting growth or preventing infections in healthy animals." According her report, U.S. livestock producers use about 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics annually for "nontherapeutic" purposes (growth promotion and disease prevention) as opposed to treatment of disease. The nontherapeutic total includes about 10.3 million pounds in hogs, 10.5 million pounds in poultry and 3.7 million pounds in cattle. By contrast, humans use approximately 3 millions pounds of antibiotics annually in the U.S. Figures from the report showed much higher figures for animals and much smaller figures for humans, than industry generated reports. [5] The UCS reports that antibiotics administered to livestock are approximately eight times the amount administered to people for illnesses. [6] See also Meat & Dairy industry, sections 4 & 5.



Board of directors


Board members



2 Brattle Square
Cambridge, MA 02238
Phone: 617-547-5552
Fax: 617-864-9405
Web: http://www.ucsusa.org

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. What We Do, UCS, accessed August 3, 2007.
  2. History, Union of Concerned Scientists, accessed September 1, 2009.
  3. "Coal Power in A Warming World," (Executive Summary) Union of Concerned Scientists, October 2008
  4. Union of Concerned Scientists Hogging It!: Estimates of Antimicrobial Abuse in Livestock, Food & Agriculture, January 2001
  5. Denise Grady Scientists See Higher Use Of Antibiotics on Farms, New York Times, January 8, 2001
  6. Brian Colleran Think Before You Eat The Widespread Effects of Factory-Farmed Meat, e-magazine.com, accessed January 2009
  7. Directors, Union of Concerned Scientists, accessed September 1, 2009.
  8. About UCS, UCS, accessed August 3, 2007.

UCS Reports

External resources

Coal vs. wind comparison, Union of Concerned Scientists website, accessed February 2008.