Environmental activists have welcomed the Government's plans to start phasing out oil exploration - but suggested not doing the same for gas is a missed opportunity.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed the Government's approach during a speech in New York yesterday evening.
Speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit, Mr Varadkar said: "In the last week, on foot of a request from me, our independent Climate Change Advisory Council recommended that exploration for oil should end, as it is incompatible with a low carbon future.
"They recommended that exploration for natural gas should continue for now, as a transition fuel that we will need for decades to come while alternatives are developed and fully deployed.
"I accept this advice and Ireland will now act on it."
Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton is expected to bring a memo before Cabinet on the issue in the coming weeks.
Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, says a ban on exploring for oil is welcome - but doing the same for gas makes sense too.
He argued: "We need to be finished with gas by the middle of the 2030s at the latest, so there's no point looking for new gas now because by the time you get it into production it will be too late.
"That was a missed opportunity - Ireland could actually have got into a real leadership position if it announced a ban on oil and gas exploration."
The Green Party, meanwhile, said stopping gas exploration is necessary if Ireland is to "follow climate science".
Cllr David Healy argued: “Gas is a fossil fuel and its extraction and use will contribute to climate breakdown.
"There is no guarantee that gas extracted in Irish waters will contribute to energy security here and will most likely be exported."
He said the efforts instead need to go towards investing in "renewables, grid upgrades, storage and hydrogen power".
Mr Varadkar was among many world leaders speaking at the climate summit in New York yesterday.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the world needs to act on the basis of "undeniable, irrefutable science".
He argued: "We need more and more ambition, more and more pressure, and more and more good, old-fashioned truth-telling.
"We can send the political and market signals for a transformation to a green economy for better lives, better jobs, better health, improved food security, more equality and sustainable growth."
He said it was young people "above all" who are demanding urgent action and accountability.
Among the other speakers at the summit was climate activist Greta Thurnberg.
In an emotional and impassioned speech, the 16-year-old criticised world leaders for their "empty words".
She said: "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth - how dare you.
"How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying you are doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight."