Ireland's recession has brought joblessness, bankruptcy and poverty _ and cleaned up the air.
Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency says in a report Friday that the country's emission of greenhouse gases last year experienced the greatest plunge in recorded history. The 8 percent fall to 62.3 million tons was the first decline since 1989 and, according to the researchers, reflects the country's drastic slowdown in economic activity.
Slumping Irish businesses consumed less fossil fuel in 2009 and reduced emissions 20 percent. The cement industry _ bellwether of Ireland's boom-to-bust property market _ reduced emissions 38 percent.
The EPA says Ireland won't have to buy any carbon credits to meet its targets under the Kyoto global-warming accord until 2013.