Amazon, Bezos team up with NHL Seattle to present ‘Climate Pledge Arena’

Climate Pledge Arena Seattle Bezos Amazon NHL Oak View Group
Artist rendering via NHL Seattle
4 Comments

So, Amazon is teaming up with NHL Seattle and the Oak View Group to transform Key Arena into “Climate Pledge Arena.”

In 2020, we’ve been bombarded with stories you can classify as “both strange and terrible.” If Amazon and NHL Seattle back up these promises, Climate Pledge Arena would be a story that qualifies as strange and … maybe really good?

Let’s begin with the strange part.

Climate Pledge Arena aims to produce “greenest ice in the NHL”

Frankly, it’s strange to see mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos pumping up “the greenest ice in the NHL.” But, again, 2020. Bezos posted about Climate Pledge Arena on Instagram, and it’s all a lot to take in:

NHL Seattle and Amazon explained how this “first net zero carbon-certified arena” would work in greater detail here:

The partnership was formed to make the Climate Pledge Arena the first zero-carbon arena in the world, powered exclusively by renewable energy including both on-site and offsite solar rather than the widespread standard use of natural gas in arenas and stadiums. The arena will run solely on electric for daily operations, eliminating all fossil fuels from the building and installing the first all-electric dehumidification systems in the National Hockey League.

So, this sounds like more than merely buying the naming rights to Key Arena. In a vacuum, it all sounds incredible.

Granted, it’s also tough to avoid Boise State blue field jokes when hearing about “the greenest ice in the NHL.”

Boise State field Climate Pledge Arena greenest ice
(Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)

But, kidding aside, all NHL teams should think long and hard about making the arena process more sustainable.

The United Nations gathered disturbing statistics about water scarcity, if you want to combine some worries about the future with the usual concerns regarding the present:

  • In 2013, the Global Water Institute estimated that 700 million people could be displaced by water scarcity by 2030.
  • Frankly, certain numbers are already scary. About 4 billion people already experience severe water scarcity for at least one month per year.

With such realities in mind, it’s fantastic to learn about Climate Pledge Arena’s … pledges.

Justified skepticism of Bezos, Amazon being involved

As great as all of this sounds, don’t blame those who are suspicious about Amazon/Bezos being involved.

This isn’t merely about whether or not Amazon paid federal income taxes. As great as that greenest ice might be, it’s absolutely fair to criticize Amazon’s overall environmental impact.

Beyond the company’s larger footprint, plenty of people can argue that Bezos could do more as an individual. As the world’s richest human, Bezos boasts almost unfathomable resources to make the world a better place. (Forbes estimates Bezos’ net worth at a ridiculous $163.4 billion).

We’re talking about a stack of money so large, your eyes almost glaze over.

So, really, Bezos probably has the resources to make many, many arenas into climate pledge arenas. One sheet of “the greenest ice in the NHL” doesn’t smooth everything else over like a well-steered Zamboni.

Still, by itself, Climate Pledge Arena sounds promising.

“Having worked on some of the greenest projects in the world, this project stands above everything in its ability to reach a broader audience and address climate change and other global environmental issues,” Seattle architect Jason F. McLennan said, via the NHL Seattle release. “I knew the world would force more and more sports and entertainment venues to eliminate all carbon emissions. It was just a matter of when and where. I am delighted it is now and here in Seattle.”

Here’s hoping that Climate Pledge Arena becomes a trendsetter. Not just for the NHL and other hockey arenas, either. Maybe this could be part of Bezos making more giving pledges overall?

And, on a smaller, NHL scale … maybe a team name is coming soon for NHL Seattle?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.