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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
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Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.