A Dutch court has ordered the government to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 in a groundbreaking climate case that activists hope will set a worldwide precedent.

The Hague District Court made the ruling Wednesday in a case brought by a sustainability organization on behalf of some 900 citizens, claiming that the the government has a duty of care to protect its citizens against looming dangers — including the effects of climate change on this low-lying country.

Climate activists in the courtroom cheered as the presiding judge read the ruling.