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Survey suggests Africans place high trust in climate science


Continent’s trust levels exceed those in Europe and North America, limited study finds

Africans have more faith in climate science than North and Western Europeans, a survey released this week at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland has found.

The results, presented on 22 January by Steven Snell, programme director of SAP Qualtrics, a multinational software company, draw on 10,500 respondents from a total of 30 countries, including six in Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. The African respondents number just over 1800, evenly split between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Care should therefore be taken in interpreting the survey’s findings as representative of the continent.

Of the African respondents, 60 per cent said they trust climate science “a great deal” or “a lot”, compared to 53 per cent of those in Europe and 47 per cent for North America. The three Sub-Saharan African countries together had the smallest percentage among the world regions that said they trust climate science “not at all”.

South Asia had the highest proportion of respondents—81 per cent—saying they trust climate science a great deal or a lot. Eastern Europe had the lowest, at 39 per cent. Sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest proportion of respondents who agreed with the statement ‘global warming doesn’t exist’. Only 3 per cent of Africans agreed with this, compared to 9 per cent in North America. 

Nigeria placed first in Africa and ninth worldwide among the countries with the highest trust in climate science, followed by Kenya and Egypt. In South Africa, less than 60 per cent of respondents said they had high trust in climate science. Among South Africa’s partners in the BRICS bloc, Indians placed the most trust in climate science while Russians trusted it the least.