The Paris Agreement is the last hope to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. The consensus agrees to holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5°C. Each Party’s successive nationally determined contribution (NDC) will represent a progression beyond the party’s then current NDC, and reflect its highest possible ambition. Using Ireland as a test case, we show that increased mitigation ambition is required to meet the Paris Agreement goals in contrast to current EU policy goals of an 80–95% reduction by 2050. For the 1.5°C consistent carbon budgets, the technically feasible scenarios' abatement costs rise to greater than €8,100/tCO2 by 2050. The greatest economic impact is in the short term. Annual GDP growth rates in the period to 2020 reduce from 4% to 2.2% in the 1.5°C scenario. While aiming for net zero emissions beyond 2050, investment decisions in the next 5–10 years are critical to prevent carbon lock-in.