Jeremy Clarkson has called 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg a "spoilt brat" in a scathing column published in The Sun.

The former Top Gear presenter said Thunberg had no right to "lecture" anyone after she told the United Nations the older generation had ruined her childhood with climate change.

Thunberg broke down in tears during her impassioned speech furiously scolding the international delegates at the UN for not addressing the climate emergency.

"I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

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Ex-Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson says activist Greta Thunberg should
Ex-Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson says activist Greta Thunberg should "shut up and get back to school". Photo / AP, NZPA

In Clarkson's column he accused her of sailing to the US on a £15 million yacht.

"How dare you sail to America on a carbon fibre yacht that you didn't build which cost £15million, that you didn't earn, and which has a back-up diesel engine that you didn't mention.

"We gave you mobile phones and laptops and the internet. We created the social media you use every day and we run the banks that pay for it all," he wrote.

"So how dare you stand there and lecture us, you spoilt brat."

Clarkson's daughter Emily took to Twitter to voice her anger over "middle age blokes" not speaking kindly about Thunberg.

Emily Clarkson retweeted a comment from Comedian John Bishop directed at Greta Thunberg which read: "You are an inspirational person. You have breathed life into the climate debate that was failing to get the attention it deserved. Whatever happens with the world it is a better place with you in it."

Emily shared the post, saying: "Wouldn't it be nice if all middle aged blokes could talk to and about Greta, the ballsy af teenager out there changing the world, like this."

Jeremy replied: "Wouldn't it be nice if she learned some manners."

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To which Emily hit back: "A woman doesn't need to be polite to make a point."