Altogether there is about twenty thousand times as much carbon locked away in the Earth's rocks as in the atmosphere. Eventually much of that limestone will end up feeding volcanoes, and the carbon will return to the atmosphere and fall to the Earth in rain, which is why the whole is called the long-term carbon cycle. The process takes a very long time—about half a million years for a typical carbon atom—but in the absence of any other disturbance it works remarkably well at keeping the climate stable.
Unfortunately, human beings have a careless predilection for disrupting this cycle by putting lots of extra carbon into the atmosphere whether the foraminiferans are ready for it or not. Since 1850, it has been estimated, we have lofted about a hundred billion tons of extra carbon into the air, a total that increases by about seven billion tons each year. Overall, that's not actually all that much. Nature—mostly through the belchings of volcanoes and the decay of plants—sends about 200 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, nearly thirty times as much as we do with our cars and factories. But you have only to look at the haze that hangs over our cities to see what a difference our contribution makes.