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This article examines how the global climate change discourse influences the implementation of national science policy in the area of energy technology, with a focus on industry and science collaborations and networks. We develop a set of theoretical propositions about how the issues in the global discourse are likely to influence research agendas and networks, the nature of industry-science linkages and the direction of innovation. The plausibility of these propositions is examined, using Estonia as a case study. We find that the global climate discourse has indeed led to the diversification of research agendas and networks, but the shifts in research strategies often tend to be rhetorical and opportunistic. The ambiguity of the global climate change discourse has also facilitated incremental innovation towards energy efficiency and the potentially sub-optimal lock-in of technologies. In sum, the Estonian case illustrates how the introduction of policy narratives from the global climate change discourse to the national level can shape the actual policy practices and also networks of actors in a complex and non-linear fashion, with unintended effects.