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− ESG–Agency scholars frequently use power as an explanatory variable, but often without definition or theoretical conceptualization. − Reflections on power in earth system governance research are divided between agency-centered (power to) and structure-centered (power over) perspectives, which mirrors the historic schism between liberal and critical International Relations scholars. − In the future, more comprehensive conceptualizations of power will strengthen the persuasiveness of normative arguments in ESG–Agency scholarship.
− The role of the state as an agent of earth system governance has become more complex, contingent, and interdependent. − Although participatory and collaborative processes have contributed to more effective, equitable, and legitimate environmental governance outcomes in some instances, analyses of these processes should be situated within a broader governance perspective, which recasts questions of policy change around questions of power and justice. −The complexity and normative aspects of agency in earth system governance requires new forms of policy evaluation that account for social impacts and the ability of governance systems to adapt. − Many of the core analytical concepts in ESG–Agency scholarship, such as agency, power, authority, and accountability, remain under-theorized. In addition, some types of actors, including women, labor, non-human agents, those who work against earth system governance, and many voices from the Global South, remain largely hidden. − ESG–Agency scholars need to develop research projects and collaborations in understudied regions while also recruiting and supporting scholars in those regions to engage with this research agenda.
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