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Climate activist Greta Thunberg. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Climate activist Greta Thunberg released a video Thursday denouncing world leaders for the "hypothetical targets" announced at President Biden's virtual climate summit this week.

Why it matters: The virtual summit came hours before Thunberg urged U.S. lawmakers "to listen to and act on the science" in testimony before a House Oversight Committee panel.

  • "These targets could be a great start," Thunberg said in the four-minute-long clip, "if it wasn't for the fact that they're full of gaps and loopholes."

Thunberg lambasted the leaders for "leaving out emissions from consumption of imported goods, as well as international aviation, shipping and the burning of biomass; using baseline manipulation; excluding most tipping points and feedback loops; and ignoring global aspects of equity and historic emissions."

  • "They will call these hypothetical targets ambitious. But when you compare our insufficient targets with the overall current best available science, you clearly see that there's a gap. There are decades missing."
  • The Swedish activist said the goals are "reliant on future, fantasy-scaled, currently barely-existing negative emissions technologies."

State of play: Biden announced on Thursday the U.S. would seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels — about twice as ambitious as a goal set during the Obama administration.

The bottom line: "The point ... is that we can keep cheating in order to pretend that these targets are in line with what is needed," Thunberg said. "But while we can others and even ourselves, we cannot fool nature and physics."

  • "The emissions are still there, whether we choose to count them or not."

Go deeper: All the new emissions targets announced at Biden’s climate summit

Go deeper

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

Apr 21, 2021 - World

Pope Francis among dozens of leaders to speak at Biden climate summit

Pope Francis greeting then Vice President Joe Biden at the Vatican in April 2016. Photo: Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Pope Francis is set to speak during the first day of President Biden's virtual climate summit this week, according to a schedule of the event released by the Department of State on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Francis will be among dozens of world leaders to speak at the summit, which is meant to spur more ambitious emissions cuts from nations as the world remains off-course to achieve the global warming goals of the Paris climate agreement, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

Go deeper: China's Xi accepts invitation to Biden's climate summit

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.