Ireland's transport system is “not working,” the Transport Minister has admitted.
Eamon Ryan said there is a need to diversify so that we are not so reliant on foreign resources.
He told The Pat Kenny Show that, while we need to tackle climate action, this has to be done right.
"The leap we need to make won't happen on a purely punitive, finger-wagging, shaming basis," he said.
"It'll only work where it's systemic change towards a better economy - a better way of running our energy system, our transport system, our agricultural system and so on."
When it was put to him that Ireland's efforts will never be enough if larger countries don't row in, Minister Ryan said: "What it would mean for our country is that we would actually be a better, more secure place.
"Making the switch for us to clean, renewable energy is also relying on our own resources; not being, as we are at the moment, held to ransom by distant governments.
"The benefits we would bring is not just on a global environmental level, it would be local."
He said Ireland’s “current transport system is not working”.
“It's not serving our purposes,” he said. “The traffic's back to very significant pre-COVID levels."
Put to him that the public transport system is not ready to replace all cars, he said: "That's why it's a no regrets option - if we do build the public transport it's good not just for climate, but also good for ourselves."
On any possible transfer pact between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the next election, he said the Green Party will work with whoever is elected.
Asked if this included Sinn Féin, Minister Ryan said: "The politics around climate requires everyone to be behind it, and for our party that means we work with everyone.
"We need the entire country to be behind this move - we will work with all the parties that the people elect.
"It's up to the people to decide who they put before the Dáil, we will work with them because this is a time not to sit on the fence but to actually take climate action seriously.
"We work with all parties to make that happen," he added.