Global warming? Okay, but is it man’s fault?

We've had a tough winter in the Midstate, but a report out Friday says—globally speaking—this was the fourth warmest January since 1880.

Does that fuel support for the argument of man-made global warming? Not exactly. This is a debate that has certainly not cooled.

Sounds like many folks do believe the world is warming.

“There is evidence that we're experiencing a change in our climate,” said abc27 Chief Meteorologist Eric Finkenbinder. “And there is evidence that there is an increase in carbon dioxide.”

That view is even shared by the folks at the Conservative Commonwealth Foundation.

“There's wide-spread agreement that we're in a warming trend,” said the Foundation's Nate Benefield.

But there is sharp disagreement on the cause. There are those who says it has been caused by man.

“Ninety-seven percent of climate researchers agree that by burning fossil fuels we are warming the planet,” said Jon Clark, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator for Citizens Climate Lobby. “And it's having serious consequences for the planet.”

Others say it started way before the machine age.

“It ignores some of the natural increases over history,” said Benefield. “The medieval period had a large period of global warming.”

There is something that both sides do agree on: the fact that money has turned up the heat on the argument. But it's money coming from different sides. Folks toward the right side of the spectrum say those looking to push solar and wind power are just looking for a profit.

“A lot of these companies have made a fortune on that,” Benefield said. “Companies like Solyndra, which went bankrupt—have gotten federal grants and state grants, mandates to produce wind and solar power.”

Proponents of man-made global warming say it's the oil and natural gas industry that's driving the opposition argument.

“There's a lot of money left in the ground in fossil fuels,” said Clark. “And there's pressure by the industry to continue business as usual.”

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