This forum places CEE at COP10 in the context of wider theoretical debates about global environmental governance. This special issue enhances our understanding of governance by examining how ideas travel and develop at meetings before they become the official documents and announcements that are the more common foci of such papers. The articles in this issue of GEP open up the ‘black box’ of decision-making and allow us to gain a better understanding of global environmental governance, in theory and in practice. These articles are firmly in line with International Political Economy approaches, allowing us to reflect on how regulations can mirror and deepen existing global inequalities, revealing the continuing power of epistemic communities, and demonstrating the important role of ideas. The special issue allows us insight into how global conventions work, how alliances are formed, how particular ideas emerge, and crucially, how alternatives are rendered silent and invisible.