During the 1970s the funding for NASA's space exploration program was cut by the US Federal Government, which meant the agency was forced to look for other areas to explore. A shift in focus meant NASA sent out hundreds of satellites to orbit the Earth and begin a period of study of the planet Earth that is unparalleled in human history. The space agency began to note large changes in the climate of the planet and began discussing global warming and how it had been caused by the effects humans have had on the planet.
NASA takes the stance that global warming and climate change are real and have been caused by the actions of humans, largely from the time of the Industrial Revolution to the present day. The effects of carbon on the planet are creating major problems for the environment of the Earth, according to NASA, which was one of the first scientific agencies to publicize the fact heat and pollution are trapped in the atmosphere by high levels of carbon. NASA believes the current heating of the planet to the warmest levels since the last ice age began around 1880 and has begun to accelerate since the 1970s.
NASA has been monitoring the temperatures of the planet since the 1970s in great detail and have also undertaken large amounts of research into how the temperature of the planet has changed over the last few centuries. The agency has been taking a leading role in publicizing global warming and attempting to provide information for policymakers, which has led to NASA reporting the warmest 20 years on record have all taken place since 1981.
NASA's Earth sciences team generally takes the view that the Earth is in a period of significant warming, which is being made worse by the levels of carbon already trapped in the atmosphere. NASA scientists are generally in agreement about the causes and effects of global warming, which sees them join the reported 98 percent of global scientists who believe in the phenomenon. NASA has been attempting to publicize its research to help change the minds of one fifth of US residents who do not believe global warming is real.