THERE are gaps in scientific understanding making predicting the extent of climate change and sea level rises impossible.
That's the claim of Britain's highest scientific authority, the Royal Society.
The society's revised Guide to the Science of Climate Change has been interpreted as a retreat from politics by an organisation regarded as the world's most authoritative scientific body following the scandal that engulfed the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The society's new guide does not dismiss climate change or the need for co-ordinated global action to combat it.
However, it undercuts many of the claims of looming ecological disaster that have been made in a bid to gain public support for political action.
The opposition seized on the Royal Society's shift to demand Julia Gillard accept that views on climate change differ.
Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt said: "This is a reminder on why Julia Gillard is wrong to vilify people who have the audacity to disagree with her views.
"We respect the right of individuals to make up their own minds based on their own assessments."