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Photo: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed new standards on Tuesday for what an average or "normal" U.S. climate looks like, showing average temperatures in the U.S. rising significantly.

Why it matters: Shifting the baseline for normal temperatures highlights just how quickly climate change is affecting conditions on Earth.

  • Updating these standards is important for helping shape government policies and what your local weather forecaster says the "average" high temperature is on a given date.

The big picture: NOAA releases climate averages for the preceding 30-year period every 10 years. The "climate normals" released Tuesday cover 1991-2020 and indicate that the U.S. climate has warmed, and also become wetter over time.

  • NOAA noted that parts of the U.S. may also get drier, due to climate change.
  • "The influence of long-term global warming is obvious," per a press release.

The new normals may shift how the climate is described for particular parts of the U.S.

  • With the changes, Fairbanks, Alaska is no longer considered a sub-Arctic climate, but is now termed a "warm summer continental" climate.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' climate reporter Andrew Freedman: The new normals, released Tuesday, show how the U.S. is getting warmer and, overall, wetter as climate change continues. There are some exceptions to the rule, though, with warming especially pronounced in the Northeast and West, and rainfall coming in shorter, heavier bursts.

  • The West has become drier with time, too.

Go deeper

New culture war: the meat you eat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The role of food in climate change is having its time in the spotlight, though advocates for eating less red meat probably weren't hoping for it to happen quite like this.

Why it matters: The food system, including raising cattle for consumption, accounts for greater than 30% of worldwide emissions of heat-trapping gases. How to reduce those emissions is an increasingly urgent question as the world remains off track to meet the temperature targets set in the Paris agreement.

Updated Apr 30, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on Biden's first 100 days

On Friday, April 30, Axios political reporter Hans Nichols and congressional reporter Alayna Treene hosted a discussion on President Biden's first 100 days in office, featuring Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Sen. Hickenlooper unpacked bipartisan policy efforts, economic recovery after COVID-19, and climate change initiatives impacting the state of Colorado.

  • On Biden's American Rescue Plan: "He could not get a bipartisan, collaborative bill for the recovery plan...I think he did what he should have done, which is to put a bill together that would not just win the battle against COVID-19, but get us out of this recession."
  • On what he's hearing from Republican colleagues behind closed doors: "What they're saying publicly is pretty much what I'm hearing privately now. Sometimes they will handicap what the probability is of what they think their caucus will do on a specific issue...But I think they're being candid and honest."

Rep. Scalise discussed the Biden administration's infrastructure bill and tension between House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and third-ranking Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.

  • On an infrastructure bill he would support: "The plans that I've seen that I like and would support would be plans that are fully paid for without new taxes. And what I mean by that is prioritizing existing federal dollars. There are some good plans that do that."
  • On President Trump's role in the Republican party: "President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party... So this idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are. And frankly, he has a lot to offer still and has offered what he wants to help us win the House back."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond will hosted a View from the Top segment with Bank of America Global Environmental Executive Alex Liftman, who discussed President Biden's policy initiatives around climate change and the role of the private sector in focusing capital in these areas.

  • "[Addressing] big global issues like climate change...has led us to have a trillion-dollar goal over the next 10 years to help our clients to decarbonize...We need to drive a lot of capital to those existing technologies and help sectors, principally high carbon sectors, to implement those technologies."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

43 mins ago - Health

Study: Over 99% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday released a study showing that 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, according to data provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Real-world evidence continues to show coronavirus vaccines are effective at keeping people from dying and out of hospitals. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic infections.