The Carbon Element – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Nov 17, 2021

The European Chemical Society (EuChemS) has released an updated version of its iconic Periodic Table, first produced for the International Year of the Periodic Table in 2019.

Conceived as a living document, to be periodically updated in the light of technological, societal, and geopolitical developments – which may affect the availability or status of specific elements – this unique periodic table highlights the availability and vulnerability of elements in an effort to raise society’s awareness of the limited mineral resources of our planet.

In view of the conclusions drawn during the webinar The Carbon Element – Key towards a sustainable society in April 2021, and after considerable scientific discussion, the change to the EuChemS Periodic Table is to convert the colour of carbon from the green colour to a tricolour of green, red and dark grey.

Green because it is plentifully available in the form of carbon dioxide (too plentiful), carbonate rocks and vegetation.
Red because it will very shortly cause serious problems if we do nothing to restrict its use.
Grey because it can come from conflict resources.

Read more about it in the press release.

More about the EuChemS Periodic Table

The Periodic Table is available for free download. Please note that the work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs CC BY-ND.

Support notes, which explain in more detail the updates made to the EuChemS Periodic Table, and support notes for teachers, are also available for free download.