This paper addresses the paradox that although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reached a broad consensus, various governments pursue different, if not opposing policies. This puzzle not only challenges the traditional belief that scientific knowledge is objective and can be more or less directly translated into political action, but also calls for a better understanding of the relation between science and public policy in modern society. Based on the conceptual framework of knowledge politics the use of expert knowledge in public discourse and in political decisions will be analysed. This will be carried out through a country comparison between the United States and Germany. The main finding is that the press in both countries relies on different sources of scientific expertise when reporting on global warming. In a similar way, governments in both countries use these different sources for legitimising their contrasting policies.