Biotechnology is a platform technology that may significantly contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Yet biotechnology is hardly ever referred to as a ‘clean technology’. This paper investigates why biotechnology tends to be ignored in this context. A global stakeholder survey on biotechnology and climate change was conducted with 55 representatives of 44 institutions. The results of a perception pattern analysis show that the majority of stakeholder representatives had a neutral or positive attitude towards the use of biotechnology and regarded its potential to address climate change problems as significant. The survey results further reveal a significant relationship between a representative’s institutional and disciplinary background and his or her attitude. To a considerable extent, a person’s background appears to determine whether biotechnology is framed as a risk or an opportunity for sustainable development.