AMSTERDAM: A district court ordered the Dutch government on June 24 to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster than currently planned in a rare use of the legal system to curb global warming.

A judge in The Hague said the state must “ensure that the Dutch emissions in the year 2020 will be at least 25 per cent lower than those in 1990” as the Netherlands’ fair share to avert more heat waves, floods and rising sea levels. Based on current government policy, the Netherlands will achieve a reduction of 17 per cent at most in 2020, which is below a norm of 25-40 per cent for developed countries, a summary of the ruling said.

The decision was a victory for environmental group Urgenda Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of nearly 900 Dutch citizens.

“The parties agree that the severity and scope of the climate problem make it necessary to take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the summary said.

Some saw the ruling as a landmark, if it ends up being binding. “This could be the first judicial warning shot to governments around the world,” said Bill Hare, of the independent research group Climate Analytics.

“This historic ruling will have far reaching consequences in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world,” said Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the European Parliament in the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Almost 200 nations will try to agree a UN deal to slow climate change at a summit in Paris in December.