Report: NHL is promoting hockey rink refrigerant with 'super-greenhouse gas'

Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise (11) shoots the puck
Minnesota Wild plays against St. Louis Blues in April 2015. A report from a nonprofit says the National Hockey League and a chemical company are teaming up to expand the use of Opteon, a refrigerant that is “1,700 to 3,100 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”
Carlos Gonzalez | AP Photo 2015 file

Ice rinks have long relied on ammonia to keep cold. But a report from the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency says the National Hockey League and chemical company Chemours are teaming up to get community rinks in the United States and Canada to make the switch to a new refrigerant called Opteon — and that’s a big problem, said Inside Climate News reporter Phil McKenna.

According to the report, “Opteon is 1,700 to 3,100 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 20-year period,” McKenna said.

It’s so potent that 120 countries have agreed to phase out its use and production, a move they believe will reduce global warming a half degree Celsius by end of century.

McKenna said the NHL and Chemours told him they see Opteon as a sustainable replacement for more noxious synthetic alternatives to ammonia.

McKenna joined Climate Cast this week to talk about his reporting. Click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast to hear more.

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