A senior Tory MP has issued a direct challenge to David Cameron's environmental policies after warning tough green targets could 'cripple' the economy.
David Davis accused the green movement of having a 'fixation' with imposing targets on reducing carbon emissions.
The former Tory leadership challenger warned that taxpayers are already facing a £55billion price tag for 'green' policies.
Mr Davis said that building wind farms would blight hundreds of thousands of properties and 'ruin' lives through the unbearable noise levels, while future predicted power shortages would further undermine public support for action.
'Lights going out around Britain could be an electoral off switch for environmental policy,' he added.
His comments were last night being viewed as an open attack on Mr Cameron, who pledged to launch a 'green revolution' if the Tories win power.
Mr Davis warned of a public backlash against unpopular green measures, such as higher taxes on holiday flights or more wind turbines.
Writing in the Independent he said it was ' unsurprising' that more than half the public no longer believed in climate change as it now appeared the earth had been cooling rather than warming over the past decade.
'The fixation of the green movement with setting ever tougher targets is a policy destined to collapse,' he said.
'The ferocious determination to impose hair shirt policies on the public would cause a reaction in any democratic country.'
He called for the development of an environmental 'middle way' with realistic measures to reduce emissions without 'crippling' the economy, while containing the effects of climate change which cannot be prevented.
'Today the economic climate makes people question whether we can afford the expense of these policies,' he said.
His comments represent growing concern among some MPs that Labour and the Tories want to impose harsh 'green' targets.
A Tory source said: 'Every party has members of parliament who don't necessarily fully buy up to the climate change agenda, but David Cameron remains fully behind his green commitment. It was no surprise that David Davis has made these comments.'
Mr Davis was responding to comments made by one of Britain's top climate gurus, Lord Stern, who said families should be forced to pay green taxes to subsidise wind farms and low carbon power plants in the Third World.
Lord Stern warned the cost to the UK of preventing dangerous climate change was double his previous estimate - around £22billion a year by 2020, or the equivalent of £1,000 for every household.