I am studying a video about global warming, the professor starts with this expression: "So fossil fuel combustion is​ ​basically taking a jolt from that battery of the biosphere." Which, I am struggling with what it really means.

Here are the following sentences so that you could get the context.

"We're digging up some​ buried organic carbon and reacting with oxygen,​to get the energy back. So one thing that may occur to you​ is does that mean we're going to use up the oxygen in the atmosphere? That would be like draining the battery​ of the biosphere all the way dead. Fortunately for us, most of the buried​ organic carbon in the earth is in an inconvenient​ form to use as a fuel."

My first guess was: The combustion of fossil fuel is sucking away the essence from the powerhouse of the biosphere, and it is getting weaker as time goes.

Could you confirm I am in the right direction of thinking this way?

Thank you!!

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing you've looked up the word "jolt" and seen that it means a shock or a sudden movement. But in the context you quoted in your question, a "jolt" is a burst of energy. That's why there is an energy drink with the same name. As you can see from the link, the can for this drink was quite hilariously designed to resemble a battery.

The professor is saying that fossil fuels get a burst of energy from the biosphere: the energy comes from oxygen, which combines with fossil fuels to start a combustion reaction.

  • Thank you so much, your answer is brilliant. Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 3:34

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