The Taoiseach has said Government will help people with the cost of reducing carbon emissions but ultimately individuals will have to take responsibility.

Earlier this week the Irish Green Building Council said Ireland must move to fossil free energy systems in new homes immediately.

The Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government also heard from experts who said there is a need to upskill construction workers and to provide funding to retrofit heating systems in homes.

Speaking in Mullingar after canvassing with Fine Gael's Midlands Northwest candidate Maria Walsh, Leo Varadkar said the cost of upgrading insulation on all the homes in Ireland will be about €50 billion and no Government could bear all the cost.

He estimated the cost of changing to all electric vehicles at between €20bn and €30bn and said that would have to be done over time. 

He also said while people often talk about the cost of reducing emissions there will also be opportunity and said it would allow Ireland to reduce the amount we spend on importing oil and gas.

Mr Varadkar also said he believes there has been a sea change in public opinion on climate action.

He said the Government's climate action plan will be published "in the next couple of weeks".

The Taoiseach said Ireland is behind on climate action and started the process of catching up with an almost 2% drop in emissions last year, but will need to do that and better every year up to 2030.

Asked about reports that domestic heating boilers could be banned he said he would not comment on the detail of the plan but said there is no one action which would deliver what needs to be done, saying it will require big changes by individuals and at Government, local authority and European level.