This paper investigates Italy's position on global climate change politics in order to explore the larger question of why this country, like similar middle powers, may adopt ambiguous positions on global public policy issues. I start from the observation that in recent history Italy has taken a rather mild posi-tion on international climate cooperation and climate policy more broadly. To explain this, I propose an argument in divergence with those who claim Italy has low salience in the issue or lack of interest in international climate leadership. I put forward a political economy perspective and claim that different salient concerns motivate the domestic actors that shape the country’s international position. I main-tain that these different concerns offset each other, resulting in overall mild preferences. I present support for my theory, zooming in on the motivations of two domestic sources of international posi-tions: economic sectors and public opinion. The empirical data largely corroborates the theory.