- Fewer than half (43%) of South Africans say they have heard of climate change, while 51% say they have not heard of this phenomenon (Figure 1).
- Awareness of climate change is lower among women (40%), citizens with less education (22%), rural residents (36%), the elderly (33%), and the poor (33%) (Figure 2).
- Among those who are aware of climate change: More than half (56%) say it is making life in South Africa worse, a decline of 6 percentage points since the last Afrobarometer survey in 2021 (62%) (Figure 3).
- Seven in 10 (71%) believe that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change, and more than six in 10 (63%) say the government must take immediate action to limit climate change, even if it is expensive, causes job losses, or takes a toll on the economy (Figure 4).
- Most assign primary responsibility for fighting climate change to the government (37%) or to ordinary citizens (36%) (Figure 5).
Despite climate change making headlines, lack of knowledge of this concept remains high in South Africa, an Afrobarometer survey indicates. Half of all adults say they have never heard of climate change.
This lack of awareness is particularly common among women, less educated citizens, rural residents, the elderly, and the poor.
Among citizens who are aware of climate change, most say it is making life in the country worse. Majorities agree that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change and want the government to take immediate action even if it is expensive.
In South Africans’ eyes, the government and ordinary citizens share primary responsibility for fighting climate change and reducing its impact.