Climate change activism and new years eve fireworks

Why have the climate change activists not targeted the completely wasteful hour long and smoke filling fireworks shows around the world on NYE.

Or is the fireworks lobby so powerful that they are untouchable.

it’s a big deal in Germany, which I understand is more ecological conscientious than the US, and the majority of the populace is for a ban on public fireworks.

I’m not sure a general answer is what is being looked for here.

How much damage do fireworks displays do, environmentally?

The same reason nutritionists don’t rail against having a slice of birthday cake on your birthday. Sure it’s bad for you, but what you eat every day matters a lot more than a once-a-year indulgence.

Australia is burning up but they’re not going to stop fireworks on NYE.

Sydney’s new years eve fireworks are a major event, and are among the first that happen (after New Zealand) so tend to get a lot of news-play internationally.

While there are regular minor calls that this is a waste of money, this year a petition with 250,000+ signatures got up asking for them to be cancelled. The immediate reason is that many parts of Australia are having their worst bushfire season in decades, but also tying the call to bad air quality and varying aspects of climate action.

The latest is that they will go ahead, following Fire Brigade approval.

According to Wikipedia, Sydney’s new year’s eve celebration uses about 8 tons of pyrotechnics. Explosives contain their own oxidizer, so the amount of CO2 emitted can’t be more than 8 tons. That’s about the same amount produced by burning 700 gallons of gasoline. That’s almost the same amount of gasoline used by one average American driver in a yaer.

Since the GQ answer has already been given - that the amount of CO2 contributed by fireworks is utterly trivial compared to other sources - let’s move this to IMHO. There may be various arguments against fireworks, but climate change isn’t one of them.

General Questions Moderator

While it’s true fireworks don’t contribute to global warming, an argument can be made that banning them brings awareness to the problem.

(I’m not saying I want to ban fireworks; I do not. I am again simply saying an argument can be made that banning them brings awareness to the problem.)

What are the effects from all the ash and debris?

Of course, there are areas where there aren’t New Years Eve fireworks already.

Not for environmental reasons, but because who wants to be outside freezing your tushie when it’s well below zero ? July 1st, sure.

Banning something that doesn’t affect a problem, which will annoy the people who like it, in order to bring awareness to the problem? I’m not seeing any logic to this at all.

I’m stunned that people like to cram themselves into Navy Pier in Chicago for the 4th of July, I can’t believe they want to do so for NYE.

It’s probably far, far less than 8 tons. Fireworks contain lots and lots of chemicals that aren’t carbon or oxygen. Let’s be generous and call it 4 tons of CO2 from a good large-scale fireworks display. How does this compare to other beloved entertainment spectacles? How about the Indianapolis 500, in which approximately 20 cars each cover 500 miles? They get about 1.92 miles per gallon of ethanol, and ethanol puts out about 12.72 pounds of CO2 per gallon burned. By the time the race is done, they’ve spewed out a whopping 33 tons of CO2. Now add in the rest of the IndyCar season, and don’t forget the Formula 1 series. Or NASCAR. Or pretty much any other motorsports series you can think of.

And frankly, the CO2 output of the event itself pales in comparison to the CO2 output of the spectactors traveling to/from the event. Consider a football/soccer/baseball game, in which the sporting event itself features a handful of athletes exhaling relatively infinitesimal amounts of CO2 as they work up a sweat surrounded by 70,000 spectators in a stadium. Assume those spectators carpooled, four to a car, each car driving ten miles (one way) at 25 miles per gallon. That’s 140 tons of CO2, not including all the beer farts at the game.

How about the Sydney NYE fireworks show? About 1.5 million people watch it in person. So maybe 3000 tons of CO2 just to get those gawkers to/from the event. So take away the fireworks show and replace it with a nice didgeredoo concert, and - assuming everyone still shows up to watch - you’ve reduced the CO2 impact of the whole NYE spectacle from 3004 tons of CO2 to 3000 tons. Let’s a have a nice fireworks show to celebrate our achievement. But we’ll scale it down to just one single mortar, OK? I choose this one. :cool:

Climate change is a long-term thing. As far as pollution is concerned, CO2 and methane are probably the two biggest factors driving climate change. OTOH, a fireworks show mostly makes a shitload of smoke, which causes short-term environmental problems until it precipitates out of the air. Not intending to minimize the environmental impact of fireworks - that stuff isn’t good for you - just to say that climate change isn’t really a major issue arising from the fireworks themselves.

AIUI, the arguments in Sydney have been that (a) the money spent on the fireworks would have been better spent on the fire services and firefighters (b) the smoke in Sydney is already bad enough without adding to it - and it just looks crass and selfishly business-as-usual in the middle of an environmental crisis.

But of course the money’s already spent for this year. I don’t know if there’s a counter-argument on the smoke, but the underlying issue is the government’s approach to the systemic climate change issue, which is much larger than just this or all firework displays.

And then there are places where there are only fireworks when it’s freezing. In Norway fireworks are only legal (without a permit) on New Years Eve. You have to buy them between Christmas and New Year and it’s technically not legal to store them or use them if you forget to shoot them up before New Years Day.

Let’s retain a sense of proportion, please. When activists like Al Gore or Greta Thunberg raise awareness significantly, only right-wing hypocrites whine about the tiny amount CO2 spent on their messaging — CO2 that’s repaid in spades given their campaign.

To demonstrate this, my first Google hit was this rant against Miss Thunberg. Especially amusing was

Even ignoring that this “scholar” typed a Zero instead of an Oh in her “C02,” who writes “2,134,800 grams”? A normal writer would write “2100 kg” or even “2.1 tonnes” but this “Yahoo scholar” had to make a Million-sized number to help confuse the ignorati. (Maybe she just didn’t think of “over 2 trillion micrograms!!!”)

Fellow Dopers, we’re better than this. If we’re worried about excessive CO2 emissions, let’s discuss emissions of CO2 that are, well, excessive.

Because climate change activists focus on the big problems rather than the small ones.