The governance of climate change has traditionally been conceived as an issue of international co-operation and considered through the lens of regime analysis. Increasingly, scholars of global governance have highlighted the multiple parallel initiatives involving a range of actors at different levels of governance through which this issue is being addressed. In this paper, we argue that this phenomenon warrants a re-engagement with some of the conceptual cornerstones of international studies. We highlight the conceptual challenges posed by the increasing involvement of non-nation-state actors (NNSAs) in the governance of climate change and explore the potential for drawing from alternative theoretical traditions to address these challenges. Specifically, the paper combines insights from neo-Gramscian and governmentality perspectives as a means of providing the critical space required to generate deeper understanding of: (a) the nature of power in global governance; (b) the relationship between public and private authority; (c) the dynamics between structure and agency; and (d) the rationalities and practices of governance.