http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/0505/0505245.pdf Title: A climatic thermostat making Earth habitable Authors: Peter D. Ditlevsen Comments: 4 figures, Proceedings, NORDITA conf. Astrobiology 2004 The mean surface temperature on Earth and other planets with atmospheres is determined by the radiative balance between the non-reflected incoming solar radiation and the outgoing long-wave black-body radiation from the atmosphere. The surface temperature is higher than the black-body temperature due to the greenhouse warming. Balancing the ice-albedo cooling and the greenhouse warming gives rise to two stable climate states. A cold climate state with a completelyice-covered planet, called Snowball Earth, and a warm state similar to our present climate where greenhouse warming prevents the total glacition. The warm state has dominated Earth in most of its geological history despite a 30 % fainter young Sun. The warming could have been controlled by a greenhouse thermostat operating by temperature control of the weathering process depleting the atmosphere from $CO_2$. This temperature control has permitted life to evolve as early as the end of the heavy bombartment 4 billion years ago.