This Afrobarometer-Namibia dispatch reports on special survey modules included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 questionnaire to explore Namibians’ experiences and perceptions of climate change, pollution and environmental governance, and natural resource extraction.
Findings show that while climate change is still an unknown concept to more than half of Namibians, those who are aware of it expect far more action from both the government and their co-citizens to fight it.
More Namibians are focused on pollution and environmental protection, rating trash disposal as the most important environmental issue in their community and calling on the government to ban the production and use of plastic bags.
But if environmental-protection policies threaten jobs and incomes, citizens are sharply divided as to which should be prioritized. And by a margin of almost 2 to 1, Namibians say the benefits of natural resource extraction, such as jobs, outweigh negative impacts such as pollution. Still, most want the government to regulate natural resource extraction more tightly to protect the environment.
Among the key findings:
Fewer than half (45%) of Namibians say they have heard of climate change. This is a 20-percentage-point decline from 2019 (65%), perhaps reflecting high public awareness of the lack of rain – though not necessarily of “climate change” – in 2019.
Half of citizens who are aware of climate change say it is making life in Namibia “somewhat worse” (27%) or “much worse” (22%). But a similar proportion say it is making life better (31%) or has had no effect on their lives (16%).
By a margin of almost 2 to 1, Namibians say the benefits of natural resource extraction, such as jobs and revenue, outweigh negative impacts such as pollution.
Among those who never or seldom (less than once a month) get news from the radio, television, social media, the Internet, or newspapers, only 34%-40% have heard of climate change.