Cardinal Keith O'Brien said wealthy countries had to act now
Scotland's leading Roman Catholic has warned the international community that "political wrangling" over climate change is putting the poor at risk.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien's comments came ahead of high-level United Nations talks on tackling the issue.
He is heading up an international delegation of bishops and climate change experts in New York.
Cardinal O'Brien said Scotland had played its part by setting ambitious emission-cutting targets.
Ahead of Monday's session, involving international heads of state and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the cardinal said: "Climate change is another situation where the poor of the world are paying for the over-consumption of the rich.
"Global warming is too important an issue for political wrangling and short-term national interest.
"Leaders should be getting down to serious negotiations for the sake of all humanity - instead we are seeing political disagreements and a lack of commitment."
Cardinal O'Brien, who is representing the CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis coalition of catholic aid agencies, said it was the responsibility of the world's wealthy, industrialised nations to act.
The UN talks are part a series of events to agree a replacement for the international Kyoto Protocol on tackling climate change, to be finalised in Copenhagen in December.
In June, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation setting out a 42% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, rising to 80% by 2050.