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Bullish on Climate

Wall Street turns on to heat, drought and hurricanes.

You can debate the measure of mankind's responsibility for changing the climate -- or whether it truly is changing. Regardless, politicians, regulators, corporations and individuals are reacting to the possibility of climate change, and that prospect means there is money to be made and lost. "Global warming is likely to prove one of those tectonic forces that -- like globalization or the aging of populations -- gradually but powerfully changes the economic landscape," writes Lehman Brothers economist John Llewellyn in a recent, 145-page report. Talk about an investable theme. UBS recently put out 97 pages on the subject, and Citigroup unleashed its chief strategist and an army of analysts to identify 74 companies across 21 industries and based in 18 countries that will benefit from climate-change trends.

Investments that may profit from warmer winters, hotter summers, drought in some spots and more hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico include farm-equipment suppliers, agricultural biotech companies and some insurers, such as Arch Capital Group (symbol ACGL, $66). This small property insurer will grow as mega-carriers abandon hurricane coverage. The move to regulate greenhouse gases could boost utilities, some carmakers, wind- and solar-power companies, and companies dedicated to energy efficiency, such as Emerson Electric (EMR, $44), whose assorted businesses include building controls and cooling systems.