This chapter focuses on four types of agents of earth system governance: the state; nonstate agents, with particular emphasis on the increasing number of transnational public policy networks that bring actors together from different parts of society; transnational networks of scientists; and international organizations. It argues that agents are actors who have authority to set standards and rules that govern human interactions. To demonstrate the importance of agency in earth system governance, it first considers how actors become authoritative. It then explains how the role of the state has come under increased pressure from earth system transformation before discussing its role, along with that of public-private policy networks, science institutions, and international bureaucracies in the fundamental reform of the international architecture of earth system governance. Finally, the chapter proposes a number of reform options, including a more effective system of transnational public policy networks, improving the standing of scientific assessment bodies in the international system, and establishing a World Environment Organization.
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