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South African bishop accuses rich countries of climate ‘apartheid’

December 06 2011 - South African Bishop Geoff Davies today 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, 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. ‘Climate change is a moral issue and it must be met by the moral principles of justice, equity, compassion and love,' he said.

‘We need to put the wellbeing of the planet and people before self-interested, financial considerations.‘We are being driven by almost evil forces that care just about profit. ‘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 Christian Aid in London, UK, said it would be immoral to allow global warming to exceed 2 degrees celcius. ‘If temperatures go up to four or five degrees it will catastrophic,' he said.

‘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.’

Christian Aid 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.

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If you would like further information please contact Joe Ware on 0027 (0)791443882 or jware@christianiad.org.

A photograph of Bishop Davies can be downloaded here. Please credit 'Oxfam': http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/6465277863/in/set-72157628303368743

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3.  Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk