This paper examines the emergence of a representation of climate change amongst business and political elites as an axiomatic frame of long-term economic strategy. In this representation, the rationale for action on climate change is liberated from the premise of an exogenous physical threat, and replaced by incentives endogenous to the market in the form of opportunities in the so-called carbon economy. The relationship between climate science and action upon climate change has in this process become markedly different from common assumptions whereby science is either ignored or obfuscated, or followed faithfully as the evidence base for policy. Strikingly, the abandoning of climate ontology as irrelevant to corporate decision-making has enabled a large-scale investment of capital into the policies nominally designed to tackle climate change. © 2013 Copyright Taylor & Francis.