Natural Hazards

, Volume 95, Issue 1–2, pp 173–191 | Cite as

What drives low-carbon consumption behavior of Chinese college students? The regulation of situational factors

  • Yan Liu
  • Rong LiuEmail author
  • Xin Jiang
Original Paper


Carbon dioxide contributes about 90% of global warming, which is mainly generated by residents’ daily consumption activities. This article explores the factors of low-carbon consumer behavior among college students and situational factors which contribute to explain intention–behavior gap. Combined with the existing research literature and the Model of Responsible Environmental Behavior, a model of the factors of Chinese college students’ low-carbon consumption behavior was constructed through a sample survey of college students in Jiangsu Province. Analysis results show that (1) College students’ low-carbon behavior intention has a significant positive effect on low-carbon consumption behaviors; (2) Attitudes, emotions, and habits indirectly affect low-carbon consumer behaviors through low-carbon behavior intention; (3) Low-carbon behavior ability and habits can also affect low-carbon consumption behaviors in a direct way; (4) The study of situational factors found that policies and regulations, economic costs, goals and feedback, and social norms have a significant regulating effect in the process of low-carbon behavior intention which has an impact on low-carbon consumption behaviors; (5) In terms of demographic factors, gender and education have a significant effect on low-carbon consumption behavior. Finally, this article discusses the policy measures to guide college students’ low-carbon consumption behavior from the government and the school level, respectively, and place a high hope on college students who can positively influence the entire social group to carry out low-carbon consumption and achieve the realization of China’s low-carbon goals.


College students Low-carbon consumption Low-carbon behavior intention Guiding policy 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the respected editors and the anonymous referees for their suggestions in this article. Special thanks are given to financial supports provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71573255).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouChina

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