Greta Thunberg says world still 'in state of complete denial' over climate change

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg says the world is still "speeding in the wrong direction" and "in a state of complete denial" about the threats to the planet.

Speaking to The Guardian, the Swedish teenager was angry over the lack of progress on climate change, saying the action needed was nowhere in sight.

"Distant hypothetical targets are being set, and big speeches are being given," Thunberg said.

"Yet, when it comes to the immediate action we need, we are still in a state of complete denial as we waste our time creating new loopholes with empty words and creative accounting."

She spoke out ahead of a UN event where world leaders have been asked to increase their pledges for emissions cuts.

"Leaders should be telling the truth: that we are facing an emergency and we are not doing nearly enough.

"We need to prioritise the action that needs to be taken right here and right now, because it is right now that the carbon budget is being used up.

"We need to stop focusing on goals and targets for 2030 or 2050 ... We need to implement annual binding carbon budgets today."

Thunberg kicked off a global youth movement after her solo school strike in 2018 snowballed.

She's since given speeches at UN climate summits and met with world leaders.