Efforts to cut climate emissions in countries including Ireland by switching to renewables and saving energy are starting to pay off, research has found.
Global greenhouse gas emissions which drive climate change continue to rise, but analysis of 18 developed countries whose pollution significantly declined in the decade from 2005 offer a "sliver of hope", researchers say.
These countries, which include Ireland, the UK, the US, France and Germany and account for 28% of global emissions, have seen carbon pollution fall by 2.4% a year on average between 2005 and 2015.
The declines are due to renewables replacing fossil fuels and decreases in energy use, although a reduction in energy use was partly due to lower economic growth following the global financial crash,
Countries with the largest number of energy and climate policies saw the biggest declines, the analysis suggests.
It indicates that efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are under way in many countries but need to be maintained and enhanced with stronger policy actions to drive the emissions reductions needed tackle climate change.
The research, which compared the countries with falling emissions to others where they rose, found that while policies backing renewables in developed countries were linked to cuts in pollution, that is not the case in other places.
In rapidly-developing nations, roll-out of clean tech is adding extra energy generation rather than displacing fossil fuels.
However, policies encouraging energy efficiency were linked to cuts in emissions across all countries, the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said.
Under the international Paris Agreement on climate change, countries have committed to keeping global temperature rises "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to curb them to 1.5C.
This requires global emissions to peak and start to fall rapidly to near zero in the second half of the century.
But global carbon emissions rose in 2017 and 2018, undermining hopes they had peaked after several years of no or little growth in pollution.
PA & Digital Desk