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A young tree in Copenhagen, on July 1. A water bag and supports help to increase its chances of reaching maturity, when it would actually start to yield benefits for the city. 

A young tree in Copenhagen, on July 1. A water bag and supports help to increase its chances of reaching maturity, when it would actually start to yield benefits for the city. 

Photographer: Carsten Snejbjerg/Bloomberg
CityLab
Environment

The Darker Side of Tree-Planting Pledges

Campaigns to plant millions of trees have become popular urban responses to climate change. But many have fallen far short of their goals. 

The plan launched to great fanfare in 2015. Copenhagen would plant 100,000 new trees in the Danish capital by 2025. Like many similar tree-planting pledges, the commitment was pitched as a key prong of its plan to reduce carbon emissions. 

But six years later, many of the saplings have already withered and died.