A court in Hague, Netherlands has ordered the Dutch Government to cut down greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% within 2020, from the benchmark levels of 1990.
The landmark ruling was greeted with cheers and can pave way for similar demands around the world.
The Netherlands Government presently plans to cut emissions by 14-17% in five years, which was ruled inadequate by three judges in the court.
Dutch current policy of reduction is much less than the norm of 25% to 40% for developed countries, as specified necessary under climate science and international climate policy.
The ruling says: "The state should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts.
"Any reduction of emissions contributes to the prevention of dangerous climate change and as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead in this."
The Urgenda Foundation along with 900 other plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit against the Dutch Government in 2013, considering the threat posed by climate change.
Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma said: "All the plaintiffs are overjoyed by the result.
"This makes it crystal clear that climate change is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with much more effectively, and that states can no longer afford inaction.
"States are meant to protect their citizens, and if politicians will not do this of their own accord, then the courts are there to help."
The ruling follows the announcement by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) to refrain from fossil fuel investments. The Switzerland-based global communion of Lutheran churches has taken up the decision in line with long-standing climate commitment.
Image: The Dutch verdict is expected to support other climate cases around the world. Photo: courtesy of Urgenda / Chantal Bekker.