Why Climate Pledge Arena’s ‘greenest ice’ claim may miss the target

Jul 7, 2020, 5:37 AM
Climate Pledge Arena...
Climate Pledge Arena will be located in Seattle Center. (ClimatePledgeArena.com)

Amazon secured the naming rights for the NHL Seattle team’s arena, but Amazon’s name and logo are not going to be at the top — it will be known as Climate Pledge Arena instead. The owners of the arena claim that it’s going to be the greenest ice in all of the NHL, but Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center is a bit skeptical of the whole thing.

“So what they’re going to do is that rain that falls off the roof goes into cisterns, and then they’re going to use that to make the ice. And they say that’s going to be the greenest, except that the alternative would be to use water from the Seattle Public Utilities, which comes from the Tolt and Cedar River watersheds, which comes from rainwater,” Myers told the Jason Rantz Show.

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“So instead of rainwater, they’re going to use rainwater, just slightly to the west of where they would otherwise collect it,” he added. “There is no beneficial impact from collecting it off of the roof, as opposed to letting it go into the Tolt, the Cedar River Watersheds.”

As Myers noted, the irony is that the water that those in the arena will consume doesn’t come from rainwater at all. It comes directly from the city.

“So it’s actually illegal to use rain water for human consumption, so they will still have to buy — and I would guess the majority of what they would buy in terms of water — will come from Seattle Public Utilities,” Myers said. “It’s not like this is saving money because they don’t have to buy anything from Seattle Public Utilities. They will still have to do that. They will just buy slightly less.”

Does he find there to be anything involved that does have meaning when it comes to the environment?

“My initial reaction was like the reaction of many, which is that this is virtue signalling and sort of an eye roll of Climate Pledge Arena. But I will say that in terms of environmental action, it is more likely that what Amazon does and what they’re doing in theory will be successful when you compare it to similar pledges by politicians in the state,” he said.

Climate Pledge Arena: NHL Seattle arena name rights bought by Amazon

“Seattle and the state have constantly made pledges about how they’re going to reach CO2 reduction targets, and they have literally missed every single one of them. I think the most effective environmental acts, whether it’s on climate change or something else, are ones that people take personal responsibility for, that businesses do … Where we see failure are politicians who get credit for making the promise, but when it fails, they don’t take accountability for failure.”

While Myers acknowledges there are several features to the proposed arena that are good for the surrounding environment, he thinks Amazon should look beyond the arena itself.

“If you want to help water quality and fish habitat, doing it around Queen Anne Hill is not the place you’re going to do that. I do think that some of the storm water retention that they’re doing on site is good. That is a problem. Runoff harms fish, and we know that. Those sorts of things can be done on site,” he said.

“But I think if they really wanted to maximize the benefit to the environment, they should look outside the boundaries of the arena for things they can do to help and spend their money that way, rather than using it as a PR opportunity.”

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Why Climate Pledge Arena’s ‘greenest ice’ claim may miss the target