Salmond accuses David Cameron of 'planetary suicide'

Alex Salmond has escalated the row over David Cameron's plans to roll back green levies by accusing him of planning to take actions "which in planetary terms are suicidal."

The Scottish first minister said Cameron was more concerned about winning the next election than addressing the very real dangers of climate change.

Salmond's intervention came as Downing Street said it does not recognise reports that the prime minister wants to "get rid of all the green crap" from energy bills to bring down costs. According to the Sun, the prime minister was referring to the green levies, which fund renewables and reduced bills for poorer people and which make up £112 of the average bill.

Salmond said: "He's gone a mile of a difference backwards since he was hugging polar bears. Is this the same prime minister who said he was going to lead the greenest government in history?

"It is quite legitimate to take some of the energy efficiency levies off electricity bills and put them onto the public purse as that is a far better way to organise these schemes yourself rather than through power companies.

"But the idea that you should abandon, for example, the move towards renewable and green energy is absolute madness.

"In a word, what is driving it is 2015. I think David Cameron should be thinking of 2020 and 2030 and not just about his own election prospects."

He also said that the UK was facing a shortage of generating power over peak demand in two years time. Abandoning green levies would put energy security even further at risk.

Referring to the slow progress of global climate change talks in Warsaw, Salmond said: "The environmental global challenge we face is not less than it was in 2010 when Cameron came to office but overwhelmingly more and the action being taken to deal with it is falling far, far short of what is required.

"Cameron's actions have got to be self-defeating as people will see through them. It is irresponsible in terms of our obligations to the planet.

"I would argue, like DECC [The Department of Energy & Climate Change] would argue, onshore wind energy is likely to be cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives by 2020, so what would be the reason for turning away from green issues at the present moment apart from Cameron having been wrong footed by Ed Miliband over electricity bills.

He should do something sensible rather than taking actions which in planetary terms are suicidal."