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AN ECONOMIC BOOM that began in the 1990s and continued through 2001 transformed Ireland from one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the wealthiest, but the boom came with an environmental cost. No part of Ireland is more than 70 mi. (113 km.) from the Atlantic Ocean, and this proximity to the ocean renders the country particularly vulnerable to coastline erosion. Greenhouse gas emissions from land and air transportation increased 140 percent 1990–2004, making Ireland the second worst offender (next to Luxembourg) in spewing pollutants among European Economic Area nations. Deforestation has added to Ireland's environmental offenses.

A study compiled by climatologists for the Environmental Protection Agency draws a direct correlation between Ireland's shrinking shoreline and greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers reported that ...

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