Dowse the Fire!

“The EU bureaucrats’ idea of “saving the climate” by doing away with small handheld CO2-base fire extinguishers is worse than asinine — I can only think of it as a kind of eco-terrorism that will surely backfire.”
– Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser


Dowse the Fire!

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Firefighting used to be simple. In the olden days, water was all that was needed and (hopefully) available as required. Once structures came with charged electrical wires, water was no longer the material of choice. You might extinguish a small fire and electrocute yourself in the process.

As of late, with high voltage (~700 V) electric vehicles that problem has been catapulted to new heights. For example, a recent report on the entire set of 18 competition e-bikes having burnt to ashes is just an inkling of the problems with that technology.

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

The point at hand, however, concerns the ability to extinguish fires, of nearly all kinds, in the most efficient way and the newly proposed regulations by European Union bureaucrats. I find it even difficult to believe that anyone would intend to ban CO2-type fire extinguishers “to save the climate.” What a crazy idea. In my humble opinion, that idea really borders on criminal insanity!

Typical CO2-type fire extinguisher, note: no pressure indicator gauge.

Firefighting Materials

When water was no longer the ideal choice, science came up with a simple substitute for water. That material was highly effective and could be used to fight fires of nearly all kinds of flammable materials, except for some very special fire problems, such as ignited metal shavings.

That new material was widely available, is constantly produced in million ton quantities all around the world and was much more effective than water as well. It works well on burning liquids and solids, can safely be used on electric systems, and is self-pressurized. Furthermore, this material not only extinguishes flames in a great hurry, it provides a strong cooling effect on the burning substance(s), which is an important part of extinguishing a burning substance. That is because this liquid in the extinguisher, upon release to the atmosphere undergoes adiabatic expansion. That process volatilizes a part of the material to gas (which suffocates flames) and cools the other part to a solid white snow. The snow has a temperature of -70 C and provides a strong cooling effect to any burning liquid or solid.

As a consequence of both flame-smothering and cooling effects, that fire-fighting material does “the trick” in a hurry. That great firefighting material is called carbon dioxide (CO2).

But that’s not all, CO2 as fire extinguishing material has other great advantages over other systems.

CO2-Type Fire Extinguishers

Carbon dioxide based extinguishers are common in places were a quick and effective response may be required. For example, when I was a student in a chemical lab, another student and the supervisor were working behind me on a glass apparatus with hot flammable liquid. For some reason, the glass broke and the liquid caught fire with an audible whoosh. I did not need to see what had happened behind me, I could hear it. As I was working on a similar experiment myself, I had already placed the lab’s fire extinguisher right beside me. When I heard the sound of breaking glass and burning liquid, I simply grabbed it, turned around and dowsed my colleagues who had fallen or tripped over each other and were lying on the floor in burning liquid with a short blast of CO2-snow. It saved both from any lasting effect. That event happened more than 50 years ago and is still “burnt” into my memory.

I couldn’t imagine a chemical laboratory without such a fire-fighting device on hand.

So, let me just briefly review the main advantages of CO2-based extinguishers:

  • They are always “on”, that is they do not need a separate pressurizing gas and are refillable
  • Their readiness can quickly be ascertained from just lifting and/or shaking it; the weight or feel of the liquid inside will tell you if there is still much fluid present
  • Even upon use (even repeatedly), there is no danger of the valve seal (as in the “modern” sodium bicarbonate powder extinguishers) clogging with a solid that tends to lead to complete loss of the pressure after one use
  • As already mentioned, the very cold CO2 not only smothers flames (by displacing the air and replacing it with non-combustible CO2 ) but also strongly cools the burning substance
  • Their use does not leave behind any (chemically aggressive) powder and, therefore, does not affect the continued use of electronic gadgets.

Modern Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Most modern dry chemical extinguishers are suited for A, B, C type fires. If not all, most of such dry chemical extinguishers use sodium bicarbonate powder which is dispensed by pressurized nitrogen or air. That’s why such extinguishers have pressure indicating gauges that are to show if the extinguishers are (more accurately, are thought to be) still good to use and, generally come with an “expiry date.” That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t expire earlier by loss of the compressed gas or, if the gauge were to become corroded and failing, still indicating a (no longer factual) good performance and having become useless instead.

The EU bureaucrats’ idea of “saving the climate” by doing away with small handheld CO2-base fire extinguishers is worse than asinine—I can only think of it as a kind of eco-terrorism that will surely backfire.


Dr Klaus L E KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.

Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at:

34 thoughts on “Dowse the Fire!”

  1. Makes no sense. They should like it. The CO2 is sequestered and probably won’t be used, and might stop forests from burning down. Or apartment buildings. The Earth won’t care, it will still be here. Now you see what happens with people who are immune to criticism because they are scientists. Someone needs to tell them Carbon Dioxide isn’t actually that bad.

  2. Seriously? I can’t imagine fire extinguishers make any meaningful contribution to overall CO2 output. Surely they can find more significant targets. How about eliminating a few belching coal-fired power plants? I wonder how many fire extinguishers that would equal?

    • Seriously ?

      Anyone who really believes ~650 MILLIGRAMS of CO2 in every KILOGRAM of ordinary air matters simply isn’t thinking straight.

      Almost all of the gobbeldygook sprouted by alarmists such as near Earth orbit space is cold, CO2 causes heating, cold heats hot etc. etc. is just nonsense !

  3. AGW has been all about control. Always has, always will be. To want to change legislation based on a harmless gas is beyond absurdity.

  4. This is really laughable when you consider that CO2 that goes into fire extinguishers is harvested and not created. Putting it into a fire extinguisher simply delays it’s entry into the atmosphere for however long it sits in the canister. Most CO2 is harvested from the gasses that escape from oil and gas wells and are condensed out with other useful gasses like Argon. They usually refine or fraction off 2-Methyl Propane, and a host of other low pressure flammable hydrocarbon gasses like N-Butane and ISO-butane. CO2 is more of a byproduct in that process. Were it not for fractioning or harvesting, the CO2 would be vented at the well. Basically CO2 is captured and used, and not created for making fire extinguishers.

  5. There is nothing wrong with today’s Coal Fired power plants fool. As a matter of fact the discharges could be used to refill the fire extinguishers.Learn some science,get a clue. This is not China

  6. CO2 fire extinguishers sequester the CO2 thereby reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Meanwhile the Europeans are building more lignite (soft coal) burning power plants to balance their unreliable “green” solar and wind power generation.

  7. In the name of reducing CO2 emissions I propose that global warming alarmist hold their breath and stop exhaling for 20 minutes.

  8. CO2 is not a warming gas. There is no correlation between C02 and temperature (see ice core data). There have been ice ages on earth when CO2 was above 4,000 ppm. Rising CO2 levels are not alarming because CO2 is extremely low, at the lowest levels in planetary history.

    In the late Pleistocene CO2 got so low plants died, then the megafauna died.

    CO2 hysteria is caused by media brainwashing, it is not science, it is political.

    The world is insane.

  9. So far nobody mentioned that the liquid CO2 in fire extinguishers (and welding gas cylinders) is originally obtained by extracting from the atmosphere. Via the exact same process used to produce liquid oxygen and nitrogen from the air on industrial scale. Just cool and compress air enough, and at differing temperatures and pressures CO2, oxygen and nitrogen liquefy out. Xenon and all the other rare gasses too btw. Liquid CO2 is an inevitable byproduct of producing liquid oxygen and nitrogen. Do the EU idiots expect humans to do without liquid oxygen and nitrogen?

    CO2 fire extinguishers are absolutely, unarguably 100% ‘carbon neutral.’ When used to put out a fire, the CO2 is just returning to where it came from. While doing a great service in putting out a fire.

    There is zero possibility the EU bureaucrats are unaware of this detail. And so the proposal to ban CO2 fire extinguishers is certainly and very obviously nothing but deliberate raw societal sabotage. A case of the insane Warmists (whose entire spiel is a lying scam constructed specifically to collapse industrial civilization) over-reaching, and revealing their underlying intent. The AGW scam is complex enough that most of the public (scientifically illiterate) can’t see through it. But banning CO2 fire extinguishers… ha ha ha. Idiots. That lie won’t fly, but it does strip off the mask.

    Let’s just keep pointing out that CO2 in extinguishers came from the air, and is merely going back to the air. Therefore anyone trying to ban them is simultaneously lying, and trying to burn you to death. Quite literally, if you’re ever unlucky enough to desperately need a CO2 fire extinguisher.

  10. I’d hoped to find a link to some official announcement of this insanity, but so far only found a ‘report’ of it. Translated from the German in the original article:

    “Mostly private households and small businesses equipped with CO2 handheld fire extinguishers. And who is surprised, these are the first on the hit list. It is envisaged that on 1 January 2020 the 2kg and from 1 January 2021 the 5kg hand-held fire extinguishers with CO2 filling be banned. Then come the larger extinguishing systems. As reported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the directive is to be implemented into national law in such a way that the owners of such extinguishers have to dispose of them as hazardous waste at their own expense. A violation of this provision, ie the possession of such equipment after the respective deadline, is to be fined as an administrative offense under the Federal Immission Control Act.”

    My skepticism is in conflict with my awareness that the Warmist/Globalist liars actually are insane enough to try on such an absurdity. So I want to see an official source before I start laughing hard enough to injure myself.

  11. Surprised that AOC isn’t pushing for this idea to be implemented immediately in the United States.

  12. One must understand their motivation for such an idea. It’s about saving the planet, by reducing the human population in an endless number of ways, such as this creative approach.

  13. a collective madness has arisen about saving the planet by saving the climate. What to think about the term ‘people being more climate consciousness’ ? It all is stimulated by politicians c.s. and or scientists c.s who want to get rid off ‘bank-capitalisme’, ‘polluting industry’ and ‘ polluting people’ and ‘natural polluting by microdust’ by introducing a heavy taxation. ‘ Brussel’ has gone out of their political mind. In fact fiscal-taxation is used to change the climate.

  14. The EU must ban the use of these fire extinguishers. Hopefully the whole useless f ing EU will go up in flames & save many from the pain of Brexit or any other crap associated with that Soviet club!

  15. Better to eliminate the tens of thousands of CO2 emitting bureaucrats and finish the fourth reich project.

  16. If the fire kept burning it would lead to far greater carbon emissions than that which is inside the hand held extinguisher.

  17. the stupid is never ending
    they banned BCE ones in aus decades ago best for electricals etc cos of the non existant ozone hole issue we did NOT create
    i have a housefull of the bicarb ones and theyre ok but past expiry the CFS wont repressure em for you
    so? locals got adaptors and DIY;-)
    Id love co2 ones.
    ps handy hint
    either the co2 or the powder ones are damned handy to break up a dog fight etc hunters gave me that tip years ago, dogs catch something n start a brawl over whos it is…
    snootful sorts that issue out fast!
    remember it in case of dog attacks too,people.

  18. A problem with small dry chemical extinguishers carried in vehicles is compaction. The constant vibration from driving will settle and compact the chemical, significantly reducing the extinguisher’s effectiveness. Monthly checks of these extinguishers should include inverting the extinguisher and shaking it to break up the caking and compaction.

  19. Has any one done a study on the amount of C02 that is emitted each year from Volcanoes vs Man?

  20. I want them to know something RIGHT NOW!

    It is snowing in South Carolina in April. Understand???
    And they want to blame the snow on fire extinguishers because they are heating up the planet????? Roll over the floor and laugh my ASS OFF!!

    Laugh MY ASS OFF!!
    Laugh MY ASS OFF!!
    Laugh MY ASS OFF!!
    Laugh MY ASS OFF!!
    Laugh MY ASS OFF!!
    Laugh MY ASS OFF!!

  21. I was taking my company’s two fire extinguishers to a shop for their periodic certification. Just before I got there one of the dry chemical extinguishers that they were working on “blew” and covered half the block with the white chemical including a car of one of the neighbor’s. He was pissed! he had just washed it!

  22. Banning CO2-base fire extinguishers is a move only the truly faithful can understand. The religion of Climate change continues to be in a state of flux. It’s difficult to tell if it’s gaining strength or becoming irrelevant. Some worshipers want to declare war while others believe they have the truth and it will free everyone.

    At this point CO2 is a euphemism for sin. Hell appears to be runaway climate change destroying earth. There are plenty of priests, prophets and pushers. Heretics and false prophets are never in short supply. But one thing I’m absolutely sure of, Gaia is god. Hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and thunder, fire and earthquakes are Gaia’s warning.

    A multitude of laws have been implemented with the faithful demanding more, obeying the law will save us! They’re demanding sale of indulgences to pardon our many sins. Fossil fuel is evidently Satan because it gives power to all demons possessed by the internal combustion engine. EVs, wind turbines and solar arrays are definitely angelic. Dam I can’t make up my mind about dams.

    We have apparently been playing Satan’s game too long and if we don’t obey the law and sacrifice everything there will be total destruction. To quote the exalted most high prophetess Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “I’m comin’ and hell’s coming with me”.

  23. I wonder how they produce that CO2. If it’s from liquifaction of air the extinguisher is a form of carbon capture bcos very few extinguishers actually get used.
    This sounds like another bored Eurocrat trying to justify its existence.
    Mean-while people are starving in parts of Africa and the Indians are blowing up their own satellites and filling near-space with shrapnel that is a serious threat to the ISS. The world has gone mad.

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