But people on the ground in Beijing say loans are tough for private companies while green supplies are hard to get in China compared to developed markets. There's also serious talk in China of raising electricity rates. For industry in particular, China's obsession with a strong GDP holds back growth in more costly energy-efficient factories.

"For the mass market I don't see it taking hold quite yet," says Alan Beebe, a director with the China Greentech Initiative, speaking specifically of green construction.

Foreign investors in a greener China should see business jump with a bang once the host country starts to add action to policy. But they may be in for a long, quiet wait.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Ralph Jennings is on LinkedIn.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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