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The Stanford Climate Change Behavior Survey (SCCBS): assessing greenhouse gas emissions-related behaviors in individuals and populations

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Climatic Change, Volume 109, Number 3-4, p.671-694 (2011)



Many individual-level behaviors are associated with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Reliable and valid assessment instruments are needed to (1) identify behaviors and populations to target with emissions-reduction programs and policies, (2) evaluate the effectiveness of such programs, (3) link self-reported and objective measures of GHG emissions to establish the impact of specific behaviors, and (4) estimate frequencies of behaviors and their changes over time to aid policy makers in understanding energy consumption trends. The self-administered Stanford Climate Change Behavior Survey (SCCBS) is shown to be a reliable and valid instrument that can be used for these purposes in college students, and we anticipate that it will also be useful for assessing these behaviors in other adolescent or adult populations in developed countries. Questions included behaviors likely to be within the control of most individuals and did not include behaviors specific to home owners (e.g. appliance purchases). Ten indices were identified: Energy Use, No-, Low-, and High-GHG Transportation, Waste, Food Packaging, High- and Low-GHG Food, Food Purchasing, and GHG Credits use. A Total GHG Behavior score was calculated. Testretest reliabilities of individual items ranged from .64 to .91. Internal consistency reliabilities for each of the indices ranged from .51 to .89. Most indices were statistically significantly correlated with one another. Correlational validity of the SCCBS was demonstrated with statistically significant associations between behavior scores and perceived importance of environmental sustainability and membership in an environmental organization. The use of the SCCBS to identify potential target sub-populations and behaviors was demonstrated.