Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some 11,000 scientists labeled climate change as an "emergency" for the first time in a report released Tuesday.

Driving the news: By a slim margin, last month was the warmest October ever recorded, new data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service shows. It was only 0.01°C warmer than October 2015 — the second warmest on record — and 0.09°C warmer than October 2017, per the report.

  • The Copernicus Climate Change Service analysis is "significant because it shows that 2019 is certain to be one of the warmest years on record," the Washington Post's Andrew Freedman reports.

What they're saying: In Tuesday's report in the journal BioScience, the scientists argue that global human activities' effects on the environment have not been properly addressed in public discussions on climate change.

  • The scientists list forest loss, energy consumption, air transport, greenhouse gas emissions, meat production and CO2 emissions as prominent examples of areas in which human activity has rapidly increased in the last few decades.
  • Reducing emissions of "short-lived climate pollutants" like methane could potentially reduce the Earth's current short-term warming trend by more than 50% over the next few decades, the scientists say.

Go deeper: Where climate change will hit the U.S. hardest

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Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.