The project to expand London’s Heathrow airport was first proposed in 2009, and it has had a turbulent journey since. It was initially backed by a Labour government, canceled a year later, revived, then backed by a Conservative government in 2018. Proponents have touted the plan as a source of extra jobs, additional air routes, and fewer delays. The U.K. Department of Transport has estimated an economic benefit of £61 billion, or $79 billion, over the next 60 years.
But now, in one of the most concrete displays of global climate goals, a Court of Appeal ruling deemed the plan “legally fatal,” on the basis that it conflicts with the climate accords. It’s the first time that the Paris Agreement has been the rationale for a significant ruling anywhere in the world.