Climate change? Never heard of it.

Posted by Laura Grant on October 4, 2008
Posted in Business, Green News

More than 40 percent of South Africans claimed to know nothing about climate change, according to the results of a survey by the Human Sciences Research Council. And 27 percent said they had never even heard of climate change before they were interviewed for the survey.

Only 18 percent of the respondents thought they knew a lot or a fair amount about it. Nevertheless half the respondents thought climate change was a serious problem. And even though concern seemed to have increased on the year before, levels of awareness of the seriousness of climate change are low in South Africa compared with other countries, even developing countries such as Nigeria, China, India and Brazil, the HSRC report said.

3,164 people were asked questions about climate change in the 2007 South African Social Attitudes Survey. It was the first time a module on climate change had been included in the survey.

Interestingly, people seemed reasonably well informed about the impacts of climate change, the report said.

The majority of respondents (48 percent) felt that the government, in its various forms, should take responsibility for action to prevent further climate change. Only 14 percent thought that large companies had a role to play. But nearly 40 percent of the respondents answered “didn’t know” or “cannot choose” when asked whether they thought the government was doing enough about climate change.

The report concluded that greater efforts were required to increase general awareness of climate change and to catch up with public opinion in other countries.

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