Our view is that the current economic downturn must be used as a springboard to accelerate action to manage climate change. With thousands of jobs already lost across the North due to the recession, we will continue to work at all levels to persuade others that now is the time to create new jobs by moving from our present dangerous and expensive over-reliance on imported fossil fuels.
In the Executive and through our chairmanship and membership of the Assembly's Environment, Enterprise, Trade & Investment and Finance & Personnel Committees, the SDLP will continue to push for real economic incentives to exploit our natural advantages - wind, water, afforestation - in potential renewable resources to out-perform EU targets and provide employment through technologies our region can lead in.
The transition to a low-carbon and sustainable development path can only be achieved through a coordinated international effort, enshrined in a fair and effective global agreement. That's why the global climate change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 will be crucial in laying down a roadmap for action on climate change post-2012, as well as giving endorsement to the need to support economic growth and create green jobs in the short term while laying the basis for a more sustainable economy for the future.
We are committed to an all-island waste strategy with stronger prevention measures and including innovative strategies and incentives that will underpin the recycling market.
We have maintained pressure for an independent, all-Ireland Environmental Protection Agency to improve government and private sector accountability, and in recognition of the fact that pollution, waste and habitat destruction know no borders.