South African Bishop Geoff Davies has compared rich countries' behaviour at the Durban climate talks with apartheid, saying wealthy nations were trying to keep power and wealth for themselves.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday 6 December 2011, the Anglican church leader urged decision makers to put the needs of people and the planet before profit.
Bishop Davies, who runs the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute, also insisted that climate change is a moral issue.
"Climate change is a moral issue and it must be met by the moral principles of justice, equity, compassion and love," he declared.
Bishop Davies continued: "We need to put the well-being of the planet and people before self-interested, financial considerations. We are being driven by almost evil forces that care just about profit."
He continued: "Here we are on South African soil where apartheid was defeated. Yet we are seeing a global apartheid. Rich countries are keeping wealth and power for themselves."
Bishop Davies, whose organisation is a partner of UK-based global development agency Christian Aid, said it would be immoral to allow global warming to exceed two degrees celsius.
"If temperatures go up to four or five degrees it will catastrophic," he explained. In Africa we are concerned. Scientists say African temperatures will increase twice as much as the global average. It is immoral for nationals to say we will continue to emit carbon until we hit two degrees."
"We worship a creator God and we are in the process of destroying that creation," concluded Bishop Davies.
Christian Aid says it believes Bishop Geoff's words "provide a very thought-provoking and challenging perspective on global warming and that a time when the climate talks are in peril, it is important to have new ways of thinking about the crisis facing the world."