Why maladaptation’ is getting so much attention

As cities race to invest in climate infrastructure, the threat of maladaptation looms. What exactly is it?

On The Carbon Copy podcast this week:

Climate researchers are increasingly using the term maladaptation” to describe adaptation measures that introduce unforeseen negative consequences into local communities.

From the construction of levees that inadvertently increased flood risk in Bangladesh to a hydroelectric dam that cut off land access in Vietnam, examples of maladaptation are popping up all over the world. 

In the U.S., Miami has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in stormwater pumps and elevated roads to combat flooding from rising seas. And it will need to invest billions more to save the city from chronic flooding. But the latest U.N. climate report says those early investments might have caused unintended impacts. 

This week, we discuss the story of how Miami’s flood investments might be leading to maladaptation — and what other cities around the world can learn from it. 

Guests: Alex Harris, climate change reporter for the Miami Herald, and Lisa Schipper, co-author of part of the U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and an environmental social science research fellow at the University of Oxford.

The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

The Carbon Copy is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.

The Carbon Copy is also supported by Climate Positive, a podcast from Hannon Armstrong, the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to investing in climate solutions. The Climate Positive podcast features candid conversations with the leaders, innovators and changemakers driving our climate-positive future. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.