Kraken Arena Hockey

The roof-top sign for Climate Pledge Arena is shown next to the Space Needle, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ahead of the NHL hockey Seattle Kraken's home opener Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks in Seattle.

Remember the good old days, when fans argued over whether or not new stadiums should have a corporate sponsor affixed to the name?

In Chicago, my hometown, this very topic was up for debate in 2003, when the Chicago White Sox abruptly renamed Comiskey Park as U.S. Cellular Field. In fact, some die-hard Sox fans still refer to the now-named Guaranteed Rate Field as Comiskey.

Well, in today’s world, where virtue signaling has officially jumped the shark, stadiums are now being named after social justice causes.

The NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, has a snazzy new home named Climate Pledge Arena.

The arena, which cost $1.15 billion, claims to be the “most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world.”

To achieve these goals, the Seattle Kraken have partnered with Amazon and Oak View Group to “create the first International Living Future Institute certified zero carbon arena in the world.”

According to the arena’s website (yes, Climate Pledge Arena has its own website), there will be “no fossil fuel consumption in the arena for daily use” because all the power will be supplied by solar panels.

Solar panels in Seattle? Last time I checked, Seattle was not exactly the sunniest location in the world.

Perhaps that is why the Kraken added the disclaimer that carbon emissions that cannot be cut to zero in daily operation of the arena will be bought and paid for with “carbon offsets.”

So-called carbon offsets are virtue signaling at its finest. They allow a company such as Amazon to claim it is concerned about carbon dioxide emissions by paying someone else to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Classic “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Yet, it gets better. Climate Pledge Arena will also “eliminate single use plastics” and is “committed to being 100% free of single-use plastics by 2024.”

Banning single use plastics actually does more environmental harm than good. According to the World Resources Institute, “somewhat ironically, disposable plastic bags require fewer resources (land, water, CO2 emissions, etc.) to produce than paper, cotton or reusable plastic bags—by a wide margin.”

Further, “Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food found that you would need to reuse a paper bag at least 43 times for its per-use environmental impacts to be equal to or less than that of a typical disposable plastic bag used one time. An organic cotton bag must be reused 20,000 times to produce less of an environmental impact than a single-use plastic bag. That would be like using a cotton bag every day for nearly 55 years.”

In other words, Climate Pledge Arena’s ban on single use plastics is just more virtue signaling.

In terms of water conservation, Climate Pledge Arena claims its “‘Rain to Rink’ system will harvest water off the roof, collect it into a 15,000 gallon cistern, and turn it into the greenest ice in the NHL.” It will also sport “Waterless urinals and ultra-efficient showers.”

Last but not least, Climate Pledge Arena says it will produce “zero waste” by “composting our waste and recycling extensively throughout the arena.”

But, as experts point out, “If all wastepaper was recycled with the existing technology, greenhouse gas emissions could increase by almost 10% by 2050, as recycling the material normally relies more on fossil fuels than the production of new paper does.”

As with most things in life, it is about the money. While the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena’s ownership group are using climate change virtue signaling to celebrate their prized new home, they are also raking in millions.

Concession stand prices at Climate Pledge Arena are among the most expensive in the entire NHL. A beer goes for $13. A water for $9. Is that progressive?

And, the arena is booked solid with all sorts of musical performances and high-dollar entertainment spectacles that will assuredly have a mammoth carbon footprint.

Maybe, just maybe, Amazon, Oak View Group, the Seattle Kraken, and the owners of Climate Pledge Arena are simply hoodwinking hockey fans and concert goers by claiming their palatial $1 billion arena is all about saving the planet while they sit back and laugh all the way to the bank.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.