2500-year-old Solution to Fight Climate Change | 03 Feb 2024

For Prelims: 2500-year-old Solution to Fight Climate Change, Isotopes and Radiocarbon, Monsoon Rains.

For Mains: 2500-year-old Solution to Fight Climate Change, Environmental pollution and degradation.

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Researchers from the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences using the 2500-year timeline of human occupation at Vadnagar, showed that India has a 2500-year-old solution to fight Climate Change.

  • The study used a comprehensive approach by examining various types of data, including archaeological findings, plant remains, and isotopic data.
  • Additionally, they conducted dating analyses using Isotopes and Radiocarbon on grains and charcoal.

What are the Key Highlights of the Report?

  • Climate Adaptation Over Millennia:
    • In the semi-arid region of Gujarat, the historic site of Vadnagar has unveiled a resilient agricultural economy that thrived over a 2500-year period despite the fluctuation of Monsoon Rains over centuries.
    • Vadnagar experienced varying levels of monsoon precipitation during the Historic, Medieval (800 CE-1300 CE), and post-Medieval (Little Ice Age) periods.
  • Resilient Crop Economy:
    • Despite fluctuations in monsoon rains, the post-Medieval period (1300-1900 CE) saw a resilient crop economy based on small-grained cereals, particularly millets (C4 plants).
    • The use of C4 plants reflects the community's adaptive response to a prolonged weakening of the summer monsoon during the Little Ice Age.
      • C4 plants are a type of plants that utilize a specific photosynthetic pathway known as the C4 carbon fixation pathway. This pathway is an adaptation to hot and arid environments, as well as conditions where there is a high likelihood of photorespiration.
  • Diversification of Food Crops:
    • Diversification of food crops and socio-economic practices allowed these ancient societies to navigate the challenges posed by fluctuating precipitation and periods of drought.

What is the Significance of this Study?

  • It highlights the importance of understanding historical climate patterns and human responses to them.
  • It suggests that past famines and societal collapses were not solely the result of climate deterioration but were also influenced by institutional factors.
  • Insights from the study can inform contemporary climate change adaptation strategies, emphasizing the importance of understanding historical climate patterns and human responses.

What are India's Climate Change Mitigation Initiatives?

Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences

  • Establishment and Vision: Founded in 1946 by Professor Birbal Sahni, with the vision to establish palaeobotany as a distinct science. The institute aimed to address issues related to the origin and evolution of plant life, geological concerns, and exploration of fossil fuels.
  • Focus Areas of Research:
    • Biotic evolution through geological time.
    • Diversification of Precambrian life.
    • Diversity, distribution, origin, and evolution of Gondwana and Cenozoic flora.
    • Phylogenetic framework for understanding plant life.
    • Intra and inter-basinal correlation during Gondwanan and Cenozoic time-slices.
    • Organic petrology to evaluate the quality of Gondwana coals and Cenozoic lignite.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question:


Q.1 In the context of India’s preparation for Climate-Smart Agriculture, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. The ‘Climate-Smart Village’ approach in India is a part of a project led by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), an international research programme.
  2. The project of CCAFS is carried out under Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) headquartered in France.
  3. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India is one of the CGIAR’s research centres.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Q.2 Which of the following best describes/describe the aim of ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India? (2016)

  1. Incorporating environmental benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the ‘green accounting’.
  2. Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security to one and all in the future.
  3. Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (c)

Q.3 With reference to ‘Global Climate Change Alliance’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2017)

  1. It is an initiative of the European Union.
  2. It provides technical and financial support to targeted developing countries to integrate climate change into their development policies and budgets.
  3. It is coordinated by World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (a)


Q.1 Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (2021)

Q.2 ‘Climate Change’ is a global problem. How will India be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (2017)