I have appended below the introduction to an excellent article on this subject, written by John Mason (part of the Skeptical Science team), as posted on the Climate State blog yesterday. If the link between geology, plate tectonics, and climate change seems obscure to you, I would recommend reading the whole thing. However, if you’re busy, let me jump straight to the important bit – what I see as being the implications for humanity today: Just because it has been much warmer in Earth’s distant past does not change the facts that: (1) All life on Earth is adapted to the relative climate stability that preceded the Industrial Revolution; and (2) Most life on Earth will not adapt to the unnatural change now underway unless we stop causing it. Now we know we are in a hole, I think it would be a good idea to stop digging. For those who think they might have some time to spare, here is how the article begins:
This post delves into the long-term carbon cycle that involves the interactions of the atmosphere with rocks and oceans over many millions of years. Because of its length, I’ve broken it up into bookmarked sections for easy reference: to come back here click on ‘back to contents’ in each instance. Contents Introduction: what is weathering? Carbon dioxide and rock weathering: the chemistry. Limitations to the precipitation of calcium carbonate: the Carbonate Compensation Depth. The significance of weathering as a carbon-sink. Deep weathering of rocks: an illustrated example from Mid-Wales, UK. How breaking up minerals affects their weathering-rate: mountain-building as an accelerant. Picking up signals of major weathering episodes in the geological record.
If this sounds interesting, I hope you will go and read the whole thing: Understanding the long-term carbon-cycle: weathering of rocks – a vitally important carbon-sink