By now you know that a new presidential administration is currently managing the U.S. government, and few things have the potential to impact the near future of chemical research as drastically as new governmental regulations and priorities.
So – what might a new administration have in store for chemicals?
Federal Funding Questions
One of the biggest concerns voiced by scientists during the most recent presidential election is how a new administration might affect funding to federal research projects in the chemical and science fields. Since 2001, federal funding for research has hovered around the $70m a year mark, but experts warn that number has the potential to be drastically reduced in the next few months or years. Industries like energy and solar are particularly nervous about impending changes. The incoming administration has pledged to thoroughly revaluate R&D budgets as well as invoke a “free market system” that could possibly eliminate government funding altogether. The current pick for the Office of Management and Budget has in the past vocally questioned any need for federally-funded scientific research at all, so it’s yet to be seen how and when changes might take effect and whether the private sector might become involved.
Climate Science and the Energy Sector
Some energy insiders wonder how the American energy sector will be influenced moving forward. In addition to potential cuts to NASA’s earth monitoring studies (which not only look for evidence of climate change but assist with weather, forestry, and agricultural planning), questions remain about whether the U.S. will withdraw completely from the Paris Agreement. The Agreement, signed by over 170 nations in 2016, supports research aimed at drastically reducing carbon emissions on a global scale. The country’s withdrawal could have wide-ranging implications on research direction and budgeting moving forward.
Trade Adjustments on the Horizon
One of the areas new administrations typically focus on is trade between the U.S. and other nations. Changes to the country’s current trade structure could have a drastic impact on the global chemicals market. While there is a lot of talk about bringing specific manufacturing industries back to proliferation in the U.S., proposed tariffs and export taxes could conversely hinder many of the country’s most important trade industries. In the U.S. chemicals sector, concerns about higher costs downstream – for example, if natural gas, used as a feedstock for production 96% of U.S. consumer goods, becomes more heavily taxed – has many on the edge of their seats.
It’s yet to be seen exactly how positively or negatively the new administration will affect the global chemicals sector. From research to trade to manufacturing, chemicals’ access and costs have broad-reaching ramifications.
Noah Chemicals’ team of chemists spend a great deal of time staying on top of trends in the industry that might impact your business. If you have questions about the latest news or regulations, reach out.