The long-term carbon cycle
Carbon is in motion in the long-term carbon cycle.
But the distinction between the short-term carbon cycle is that this cycle takes millions of years to come full circle.
Instead of carbon converting into sugars, carbon is re-purposed into fossil fuels like coal. When plants are buried and compacted over millions of years, they become hydrocarbons.
When you drive your gas-powered car, you tap into Earth’s carbon reserves deposited hundreds of million years ago.