President Michael D Higgins has called on the Irish State to "lead by example" in the battle against climate change.
Mr Higgins said the State would be obliged to play a leading role if it is to have any hope of bringing citizens "on the difficult journey to a decarbonised future".
The President also called on individual citizens to play their part, urging them to become less dependent on fossil fuels.
Mr Higgins made the comments yesterday during his keynote address to the Engineers Ireland Conference.
He told the conference that climate change is the "most pressing existential crisis facing us all as a global community".
"The Irish State must lead by example if it is to have any credibility, any realistic hope of bringing its citizens with it on the difficult journey to a decarbonised future."
He added that the public has a "moral obligation" to play their part in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
"All of us, individuals, communities and professions alike, are asked to take ownership of the commitment to tackle climate change.
"This is not optional. We, all of us as citizens, have a moral obligation to play our part.
"We in Ireland need to continue to insulate our energy-inefficient buildings, upgrade our heating systems, switch to electric vehicles, build more public transport, and, overall, wean ourselves off our fossil fuel-dependent lifestyles."
Mr Higgins also used the conference to call for a paradigm shift in economic policies that incorporates the "radicalism" of climate action.
The President said that without immediate action, this generation would have to shoulder the blame for the destruction brought by climate change.
"The time to act is now. The longer we wait, the more we intensify and perpetuate the injustice of climate change.
"We run the risk of being regarded as having been in collusion with the destruction of the lives and life-worlds of some of the most vulnerable peoples and the biodiversity on which our planetary life depends."