A view of central South America as seen from the International Space Station. Layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, colored bright white to deep blue, are visible on the horizon (or limb). The highest cloud tops have a reddish glow due to direct light from the setting Sun, while lower clouds are in twilight.

A view of Earth's horizon from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

NASA is an expert in climate and Earth science. While its role is not to set climate policy or prescribe particular responses or solutions to climate change, its purview does include providing the robust scientific data needed to understand climate change and evaluating the impact of efforts to address it. NASA then makes this information available to the global community – the public, policy- and decision-makers and scientific and planning agencies around the world. (For more information, see NASA's role.)

With that said, NASA takes sustainability very seriously. NASA’s sustainability policy is to execute its mission without compromising the planet’s resources so that future generations can meet their needs. In the risk management culture of NASA, that means we use proactive measures to reduce NASA's environmental, institutional, programmatic, and operational risks. In doing so, we continuously improve the resilience of NASA’s space and ground asset operations and performance.

Sustainability involves taking action now to enable a future where the environment and living conditions are protected and enhanced. In implementing sustainability practices, NASA manages risks to missions, risks to the environment, and risks to our communities, all optimized within existing resources.

In executing its mission, NASA's sustainability objectives are to:

  • increase energy efficiency;
  • increase the use of renewable energy;
  • measure, report, and reduce NASA's direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions;
  • conserve and protect water resources through efficiency, reuse, and stormwater management;
  • eliminate waste, prevent pollution, and increase recycling;
  • leverage agency acquisitions to foster markets for sustainable technologies and environmentally preferable materials, products, and services;
  • design, construct, maintain, and operate high-performance sustainable buildings;
  • utilize power management options and reduce the number of agency data centers;
  • support economic growth and livability of the communities where NASA conducts business;
  • evaluate agency climate change risks and vulnerabilities and develop mitigation and adaptation measures to manage both the short-and long-term effects of climate change on the agency's mission and operations;
  • raise employee awareness and encourage each individual in the NASA community to apply the concepts of sustainability to every aspect of their daily work to achieve these goals;
  • maintain compliance with all applicable federal, state, local or territorial law and regulations related to energy security, a healthy environment, and environmentally-sound operations; and
  • comply with internal NASA requirements and agreements with other entities.

For more information on NASA's numerous plans to upgrade infrastructure, reduce energy intensity, and decrease water use visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2021/on-a-changing-planet-nasa-goes-green

https://www.sustainability.gov/pdfs/nasa-2020-sustainability-plan.pdf

https://www.sustainability.gov/nasa.html

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/sustainability/index.html

https://www.nasa.gov/emd/sustainable-acquisition

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/greenspace/nasas-role.html#green%20aviation


The following selected resources from U.S. government organizations provide information about options for responding to climate change.

Data and Information

  • Data related to climate change that can help inform and prepare America’s communities, businesses and citizens.


  • Provides scientific tools, information and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events.


  • From supercomputers and state-of-the-art models to observations and outlooks, this site provides data, tools and information to help people understand and prepare for climate variability and change.


  • Describes strategies currently being pursued or considered to reduce carbon emissions and address global climate change.


  • Tools for learning and understanding environmental issues and recommendations for greener living.


  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Online newsletter concerning issues about the U.N.'s convention on long-term climate change.