This article asks through what processes and for which interests the emerging Vietnamese climate change strategy is being designed, and if, ultimately, it is likely or not to be effective in the face of the looming threat. Through a review of an emerging body of literature and field observations, the paper finds the strategy partial and problematic in several ways. Its technocratic process prevents a pluralist representation of interests, obfuscating and perpetuating sectorial ones, at the expense of a more transparent and democratic resource allocation. The strategy therefore reflects and reinforces existing power relations in both politics and production. It feeds into a business-as-usual complacency, protecting national and international interests vested in unchallenged continuity, even when considering post-carbon technological fixes, which largely serve to expand capital accumulation opportunities. The article concludes that the national climate change strategy provides an illusion of intervention and security, but largely fails to identify and mitigate the underlying causes of climate change, or to lay the ground for a robust mid- and long-term adaptation strategy that can cope with yet unknown levels of climatic and other structural changes.