NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As the United Nations gears up for its annual Climate Change summit in Paris in December, world leaders are increasingly focused on the devastation caused by global warming. Europe's climate change chief Miguel Arias Cañete stated on October 13 that it was "quite astounding" that 149 nations have published tangible plans to curb carbon emissions.
Climate change is inexorable and as such, it presents an opportunity for investors who act now. You can invest in companies that not only redress climate change but also make money from it. Below are two technology-related investments best positioned to profit from the environmental woes that bedevil the planet.
Floods in South Carolina, searing heat and wildfires in the West, drought around the globe -- the parade of bizarre weather extremes seems incessant. The actual causes of climate change are debatable, but the consequences are irrefutable. No surprise, then, that during the first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday in Las Vegas, climate change emerged front and center as an issue.
Playing a key role in environmental remediation and the growing business of "disaster capitalism" will be industrial powerhouses such as General Electric (GE - Get Report) and United Technologies (UTX - Get Report) . But they're also diversified conglomerates comprised of many operating segments that have fingers in many different pies.
Our two picks below are purer plays on the search for a purer planet.
This ETF tracks the ISE Water Index, which is a benchmark of firms that derive a substantial portion of their revenues from the potable and wastewater industries. With holdings of 36 water-themed stocks, the fund now boasts an asset base of $131.6 million.
What I like about FIW is that, unlike its peers in the water ETF segment, its portfolio is well diversified across investment classes. The fund's top holdings include Badger Meter (BMI - Get Report) , Watts Water Technologies (WTS - Get Report) and Pentair plc (PNR - Get Report) . About three-fourths of the fund is comprised of industrial companies, with utilities accounting for most of the rest.
And in every crisis, there is opportunity: California's vast water shortage right now provides a huge opening for some of the companies in FIW's portfolio, such as California Water Service Group (CWT - Get Report) .
CWT provides water utility and related services in California, Washington, New Mexico, and Hawaii. California is the most populous state, with nearly 39 million people. It's also the nation's largest agricultural producing state, in terms of annual cash receipts. And according to the latest projections from NASA, there's only about a year's worth of water remaining in the state's reservoirs.
In California, CWT engages in the production, storage, treatment, testing, distribution, and sale of water to about 477,900 private and public customers in 83 communities. That makes CWT a golden opportunity in the Golden State.
As federal, state and local spending on flood control and storm remediation ramps up, one company in particular stands to benefit: Texas-based Fluor. With a market cap of $6.8 billion, this behemoth provides consulting, engineering and technical services for the water, environment, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources sectors.
Fluor's clients include governmental agencies at all levels in the U.S., as well as commercial and public sector clients overseas. The company has cleaned up the mess in the wake of thousands of natural calamities such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes.
Case in point: In September, Fluor announced that it had been awarded a contract by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide architectural and engineering services to support disaster-related operations in Texas, following the severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding that devastated the state in May.
Fluor dominates the construction industry. And yet, despite its future growth prospects, it's trading at a bargain. The company's 12-month trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 12.5 compares very favorably to the price-to-earnings ratio of 37 for its industry of heavy construction.
As governmental entities increasingly pony up for belated infrastructure investments to protect the public from extreme weather, Fluor's stock should rise.
Large-cap stocks like Fluor are good nets right now, but the right small-caps can offer outsized gains. We think this small-cap tech stock is poised to surge in the coming months. We tell you why in a free presentation, click here now to watch.