Is the Heathrow ruling a ‘game changer’ for big developments?

The Court of Appeal ruling that deemed the government’s plans for building a third runway at Heathrow Airport unlawful has divided experts over its implications for other infrastructure projects. James Agyepong-Parsons reports.

“It is not the case that the Court of Appeal ruling makes the targets of the Paris Agreement binding and substantive obligations as such, but it shows that the accord must be taken into account,” says international policy expert Dr Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh from Leiden University. 

“It cannot be ignored but what that means is an open question,” she adds. 

The Paris Agreement – ratified by the UK in November 2016 – commits it to introduce measures to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. Until now, these targets have been treated by some signatories to the accord as aspirational only, says Wewerinke-Singh. 

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