Investment needs to be made urgently in areas such as decarbonising the electricity system with renewables like offshore winds, according to the Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Marie Donnelly said it was clear that Ireland would not be able to operate a straight linear line from 2021 to 2030 in order to achieve its carbon emission reductions.

She said this is why it was decided that two carbon budgets were needed in order for Ireland to achieve its aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51% within a decade.

The first carbon budget, running from 2021 - 2025, will see emissions reduce by 4.8% on average each year for five years.

The second carbon budget, running from 2026 - 2030, will see emissions reduce by 8.3% on average each year for five years.

Ms Donnelly said: "The really clear message is that we need to take action now in order to get the benefit of the emission reductions in the second budget period."


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She said there are three types of gases coming from agriculture - carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane emissions.

Currently methane emissions from animals are increasing and going in the wrong direction, she said, and while there are certain technology and feeding practices that can help with that, it does present a serious challenge.

She said Ireland's herd is very large and bigger than the population and "this must be looked at very seriously".

She also said that the first and most cost-effective way of reducing transport emissions is to reduce demand and for individuals to walk, cycle and use public transport.

Ms Donnelly said a third provisional budget for 2031 to 2035, puts Ireland on a trajectory to 2050 and the second block will tackle the "really hard to decarbonise areas".

She added that she cannot see how Australia will achieve a net zero carbon emission target by 2050, without reducing its coal and gas production.

Meanwhile, Minister for Environment and Climate Action Eamon Ryan said he believes people in Ireland are "up for" the changes that will result from the newly proposed carbon budgets.

He said reducing emissions in the transport sector will be extremely challenging, and that while electric vehicles will play a role this in itself will not be enough.

There is a need to develop the idea of the 15-minute town in order to reduce commuting and transport needs, he said.

Speaking on RTE's Today with Claire Byrne, the minister said land use and agriculture will not have as high an emissions reduction target as other sectors.

However, he said that the current system is not working for the vast majority of farmers and there is now an opportunity to pay a new generation of farmers for protection of nature, restoration of biodiversity, removal of pollution and storage of carbon.

Minister Ryan said that revenue from carbon taxes will be ring fenced - 30% of this has gone into increased social welfare payments over the last two years, he said, and 55% has gone into retro fitting homes, with the
final 15% allocated to small farmers.

Minister Ryan said the main changes will come from developing renewal electricity and system change.