A former skeptic now agrees with the scientific consensus.
Richard Muller, UC Berkeley, has chaired a "BEST" (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) study, which examined the temperature records from around the world. BEST received its largest contribution (of $150K) from the Koch brothers. Muller said that he and his colleagues, including Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter, had suspected that the previous work had been tainted by the Urban Heat Island effect.
Its too bad Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter didn't ask me. If they had, I would have referred them to David Archer's excellent 2009 book, The Long Thaw. Archer is a professor of geophysical sciences (specializing in oceanography) at the University of Chicago. On page 32, Archer gives the scoop: if you throw out urban data, by picking them out by hand, you get the average temperature of the non-urban Earth. Studies show that is makes little difference to the global average whether urban areas are excluded or not. And the studies have been replicated. The urban heat island effect "turns out to be a non-issue", Archer concludes.
I suppose that it's ultimately a useful exercise: have a bunch of smart people, with no firm commitment either way, study the global warming issue. And they conclude that global warming is real. Duh.
[joke] In other late-breaking developments, the BEST group now concludes that evolution is a real effect. Even though some of the faithful think it contradicts Scripture. [/joke]
The Koch brothers were no doubt hoping that their contribution would foster the idea that scientists are deeply divided about whether global warming was happening or not. Now this has blown up in their faces.
Will Muller ask for more funding from the Koch brothers? And will the Koch brothers continue to support the BEST project? It certainly wouldn't be good PR for Koch to cut them off completely. So maybe a funding cutoff, but not right now. Stay tuned...