The world's leading politicians have just emerged from the Paris talks with a landmark climate change agreement aimed at saving the planet. But sometimes they must wonder why they bother.
The latest entry in the 'perhaps it would be better for everyone if the human race fried itself to death' list comes from the town of Woodland in North Carolina: the townspeople have voted against plans for a solar power farm in the area due to the clear, and obviously valid fears that the panels would suck up the sun's energy, cause cancer and force young people to leave the town.
The Strata Solar Company wanted to build a farm near a highway, but local councillors voted to reject the application, before then supporting a further complete shutdown on the building of any solar farms, due to residents overwhelmingly rejecting even the idea of it.
One of them, Jane Mann, told a council meeting that she was concerned that the panels would prevent nearby plants being able to photosynthesize, claiming to have seen areas near solar panels which were brown and dead due to a lack of sunlight. In addition, she suggested that the town's high number of cancer deaths might be linked to solar panels. "I want information. Enough is enough. I don't see the profit for the town," she said. "People come with hidden agendas. Until we can find if anything is going to damage this community, we shouldn't sign any paper."
Jane Mann is a retired science teacher, which explains a lot about the scientific understanding of her town's residents.
Bobby Mann, her husband, added that "solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not go to Woodland". He said that other communities elsewhere had dwindled in numbers after solar farms were built, saying, "You're killing your town. All the young people are going to move out."
Unless the young people are all vampires, we'd find it hard to fathom why solar panels would have such an impact.
Beth Trahos, from the Solar Company, pleaded to residents that "There are no negative impacts... a solar farm is a wonderful use for a property like this".
Nevertheless, councillors voted 3 to 1 against the development.