In this paper, we are interested in the effects of institutional context on public attitudes towards climate policies, where institutions are defined as the conventions, norms and formally sanctioned rules of any given society. Building on a 2014 survey experiment, we conducted thirty qualitative interviews with car-owners in Oslo, Norway, to investigate the ways in which institutional context and political-value orientation affect public attitudes towards emissions policies. One context (presented as a text treatment) highlighted individual rationality, emphasising the ways in which local pollution impacts the individual citizen; the other highlighted social rationality, emphasising the wider significance of carbon emissions and global responsibility for climate change. We analysed the effects of these contexts on attitudes, finding that institutional context influenced individuals' perspectives as well as their attitudes towards climate policies. Groups with different value orientations differed in terms of their evaluations but not their interpretations of these contexts.