An emerging task in world politics is to cope with human-induced global risks in domains such as environment, economy, security, and health. Current global governance institutions are largely incapable of tackling global risks and applying deductive policy models, which is why new modes of interaction may become essential. In this article I argue that through focused discourses, key peculiarities of global risks, namely complexity, scientific uncertainty and sociopolitical ambiguity, may be identified and understood. To this end, distinctively discursive and pragmatic learning processes can be developed. Different forms of deliberation and participation help develop processes that meet the challenges, problems, and conflicts that result from the key peculiarities of global risks. Hence, the article establishes a causal link between key peculiarities of global risks and postnational discourses. I discuss the varying forms of deliberation and participation (epistemic institutions, associational policy making, and transnational public deliberation and participation) of three discourses that produce institutional problem solving capacity in global risk governance. To this end, this article links theory and practice as well as normative conceptualisation and institutional feasibility.