Faculty members in the concentration have a number of research projects under way. Particular research programmes are:

Carbon Capture Storage

The Centre obtained a $245,000 contract from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to develop a legal and regulatory framework for CCS in New Zealand. In order to complete the research in the short time frame specified, the Centre employed a Research Officer, and drew on Faculty capability as well as contacts internationally (Australia, Canada, Norway/EU) with expertise on CCS. The research was assisted by an Advisory Committee that included the President of the Law Commission, representatives of Straterra, professional practice, and the NZ CCS Partnership.

Energy Cultures I

The Energy Cultures project, funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, uses leading social science expertise and several complementary methodologies to improve understanding of the drivers of household energy behaviours. This will inform the design of more effective energy-efficiency policies, interventions and incentives. The project team is multidisciplinary, drawing from Consumer Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Human Geography, Physics and Law. Barry provides the law component and is investigating the way that different modes of regulation can best affect behaviour. More »

Energy Cultures II

Professor Barton is a key researcher Energy Cultures 2 project, also based at the University of Otago, a five year MBIE funded project worth $3,199,694 from October 2012 to September 2016. The project will work with New Zealand’s transport and business sectors to support a faster and more effective uptake of energy efficiency, including the uptake of new energy efficient transport technologies and practices, and will identify the system-wide changes that will be required. More »


Intercoast is a substantial PhD-training programme on coastal zone science, law, and management. It is a partnership between the University of Waikato and Bremen University. Over 20 PhD students in different disciplines are dividing their research time between the two universities. Five are in Law.


Geothermal resources have their own particular legal questions. Effective legal regimes for geothermal resources are a matter of international interest, among the many countries that have this option of producing electricity or usable heat. CEREL is participating in a research project led by GNS Science, “From Waste to Wealth: Commercial Recovery of Products from Geothermal Fluids.” CEREL’s contribution is to ascertain rights to minerals found in the water and steam that is extracted from the ground in the course of geothermal electricity generation.