Sep 18, 2018

Bill Gates: GMOs can help farmers adapt to climate change

Amy Harder, author of Generate

Photo: Inga Kjer/Photothek via Getty Images

Genetically-modified seeds can help farmers adapt to droughts and other changes brought on by human-driven climate change, according to Bill Gates in new comments timed with a new report.

Driving the news: The report, a second annual scorecard of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's work, focuses mainly on youth population growth and sub-Saharan Africa. A big part of that involves agriculture — hence the focus on climate change and genetically-modified organisms.

"What we have to do is help these farmers with farming techniques and new seeds — seeds that deal with drought better, that deal with flooding better, that are just basically more productive. ... Some of those new seeds will use advanced science that people call GMO to get that doubling in productivity and deal with drought and avoid the starvation."
— Bill Gates

The other side: GMOs spark a lot of controversy, though most scientists generally agree they’re safe.

One level deeper: In a recent interview at the foundation’s office in Seattle, Laura Birx, deputy director of strategy for the foundation’s agriculture work, says climate change is an omnipresent topic when she meets with farmers in Africa. However, they use different words, like water and drought. "It’s a topic that comes up all the time, but no one has ever used the words 'climate change,'" Birx said.

Go deeper: Read the whole report.

Go deeper

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 5,916,464— Total deaths: 364,357 — Total recoveries — 2,468,634Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,744,258 — Total deaths: 102,709 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

Trump says he spoke with George Floyd's family

President Trump in the Rose Garden on May 29. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Friday that he had spoken with the family of George Floyd, a black resident of Minneapolis who died after a police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said via livestream a few hours earlier that he, too, had spoken with Floyd's family. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee implored white Americans to consider systemic injustices against African Americans more broadly, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.