SDG 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

Iberdrola works to minimise impacts on maritime areas

#environmental sustainability #nature

Iberdrola is committed to achieving zero net loss of biodiversity by 2030. For this reason, Iberdrola's offshore wind power business has an Environmental Management System for all its projects that includes specific procedures for managing risks to the marine environment.

OUR CONTRIBUTION TO SDG 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

 Protection of porpoises in the North Sea: during the construction of the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, in British Waters in the North Sea, a Marine Mammal Mitigation Plan (MMMP) was implemented to avoid or reduce the risk of injury or disturbance to marine mammals.

 Protection of marine biota in Mexico: measurement of environmental indicators for the marine biota (nekton, plankton) in the marine ecosystem adjacent to the Baja California Combined Cycle Power Plant.

 Controlling the temperature of the sea: at the Wikinger offshore wind farm underwater cables have been insulated to prevent temperature increases in the Baltic Sea.

 Support for new technologies to protect wildlife: we are launching the Startup Challenge: Marine mammals to search for technology that minimises the impact of the installation of offshore wind farms on the mammals in the area.

 We share knowledge and good practices: the Offshore Wind Power Environment team shares its knowledge of and best practices for smarine ecology with all offshore wind energy projects and collaborates with internal and external stakeholders around the world.

 We avoid water pollution: we optimise water management, avoid water catchment in water-stressed areas and limit the volume of inland water catchment and consumption in all technologies.
 

We protect biodiversity in our projects


WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 14: LIFE BELOW WATER?

SDG 14 seeks to conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources in a sustainable manner. It therefore seeks to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, to minimise and address the effects of ocean acidification and to regulate fisheries, among other objectives.

WHY IS SDG 14: LIFE BELOW WATER SO IMPORTANT?

Rainfall, drinking water, the climate, coasts, some foods and the oxygen in the air all ultimately come from the sea and are reliant upon it. The oceans also provide vital natural resources, such as food, medicine and biofuels. The seas and oceans facilitate and contribute to the removal of waste and pollution, and their coastal ecosystems are good buffers for slowing down storm damage.

Healthy seas and oceans will provide vital aid in adapting to climate change and mitigating its harmful effects. But not only that: marine conservation areas are also drivers of poverty reduction because fishing increases and, as a result, people's income and health.

Despite the vital importance of the oceans, irresponsible exploitation over decades has led to an alarming level of degradation. Current efforts to protect marine environments and small-scale fisheries are only a band-aid solution to the current urgent need. However, the drastic reduction in human activity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, despite causing part of the tragedy (at the economic level), is also an opportunity for the recovery of the oceans.

The ocean is the largest carbon sink on the planet. 23 % of the annual CO2 emissions that we humans generate are absorbed by it, thereby helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The great help provided by the sea, however, is not without its drawbacks: the CO2 absorbed causes the sea water to become more acidic.

This acidity threatens many marine species, including coral reefs. Acidity ultimately disrupts the marine food chain and has negative effects on its ecosystems, including fisheries, agriculture, coastal protection, and transport and tourism. According to the SDG Report 2020, ocean acidification has shown an increase in pH variability of up to 10-30 % over the last five years. A large increase is expected by the end of the century, from 100 % acidity to 150 %, affecting half of all marine life.

The sustainable development of the oceans requires us to take care of marine conservation areas. These areas protect the most vulnerable species and ecosystems, ensuring biodiversity. In December 2019, over 17 % of the waters under national jurisdiction were recognised as protected areas (having more than doubled since 2010).

In addition, countries have managed to reduce illegal fishing through a binding international agreement. However, more concrete action is needed as unreported and unregulated fishing continues to threaten the social, economic and global sustainability of fisheries worldwide.

Reversing these figures requires urgent, global action. This is why the United Nations (UN) made the protection of underwater life SDG 14 of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.

TARGETS FOR SDG 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems.
  • Putting an end to the loss of biological diversity and the degradation of natural habitats.
  • Addressing the effects of ocean acidification and regulating fishing.
  • Stopping poaching and trafficking of protected species and preventing the introduction of toxic and invasive species.