No worries, though - Oregon's going to continue to "lead".
The ranks of America's “climate sceptics” have been growing quietly for some months now. And at the weekend a watershed was reached: the usually left-wing New York Times put the British-born physicist Freeman Dyson on the front of its Sunday magazine. The article inside revealed that Professor Dyson - 85 years old and based in Princeton - not only possesses one of the finest noodles on Planet Earth, but also happens to think that most of what Al Gore and his band of Unmerry Men preach amounts to little more than yuppie self-loathing.
“All the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated,” is how Professor Dyson puts it. He adds that while it's true that human-caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising, the Earth is still going through a relatively cool period in its history, and that most of the evolution of life took place in a warmer era. Professor Dyson is also fond of pointing out that carbon dioxide helps plants to grow - so having too much of the stuff hanging around might not be such a bad thing.
Out in the blogotwittersphere, the Greens can hardly believe that the same media that once helped Mr Gore to win both an Oscar and a Nobel prize are now promoting such heresy. To make matters more infuriating, Professor Dyson isn't even a conservative: he's a left-wing, Obama-voting, peace-marching, boho-academic genius who argues that coal-produced electricity has liberated millions in China from poverty, and that “greens are people who've never had to worry about grocery bills”.
Darn. They were so hoping that they could use the Religion to bring everyone under control. But the pendulum's swinging back, perhaps faster than expected. More and more, people are understanding that climate change hysteria is nothing more than a religious belief - and unlike other religions, the historical record clearly argues against it.
Fortunately, Oregon's legislature knows how to fight. Forget minor issues like a blown-out budget (caused by their failure to set aside cash when times were good). No, they're going after dishwasher detergent, proving once again that in Oregon, following the herd is more important than leading.
The legislature really should abandon Salem completely, and meet instead in the historic Peter French round barn. It's a much more suitable site.