The Court of Appeal's ruling, blocking the decision to build a third runway, is momentous. It reverses the first instance judgment, which was handed down on 1 May last year. The very next day the Committee on Climate Change published its report recommending that the government should commit to "Net Zero" by 2050, and that was enshrined in law the following month. Before that, the statutory commitment had been to reduce emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.
Two months ago, in another highly significant decision, the Supreme Court in the Netherlands ordered the government to cut emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by the end of this year. Will we see more instances of courts forcing governments to make hard political decisions in line with the Paris Agreement and other climate pledges?
"The last year has seen a surge in litigation across the globe associated with the effects and risks of climate change," Mary Anne Roff, a partner at the London law firm Clyde & Company, said in remarks sent to CNN.