Ireland remains on course to miss its EU greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, unless ambitious policies and measures are implemented immediately. 

Latest figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that by 2020, emissions from agriculture, transport, building, waste and non-energy intensive industry here are predicted to be between 9% and 14% lower than 2005 levels.

The target that Ireland has been set by the EU is to reduce emissions 20% by 2020 when compared to levels 15 years earlier. 

According to the EPA, Ireland will only meet its EU obligations if annual reduction targets are exceeded over the period between 2013 and 2017.

This would require adoption of ambitious policies and measures, including reduction of domestic and business energy consumption, and increased use of renewable fuels in transport heating, the agency says.

The biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions here are agriculture and transport, which together account for 75% of emissions in the sectors where trading cannot take place.

Both sectors are expected to increase their emissions in the period 2013 to 2020, with agricultural emissions rising 2% and transport emissions increasing up to 19%.

New targets will follow for the period from 2021-2030 and if Ireland hasn't met its EU targets by 2020, it is likely to put further pressure on the country to meet the new targets in the years after that. 

"Our economy is now beginning to grow again and we must balance our focus on growth with a focus on becoming more sustainable and reducing emissions," said Laura Burke, EPA Director General in a statement.