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Editor's Introduction: Invest In Green

These are exciting times in the world of green. Washington is abuzz with the subject and Wall Street and Main Street are certainly taking note. So does this special report: "Invest in Green."

The last energy crisis seems to have had something of a lasting impression on government policy, personal behavior and investment practices.

The federal government has targeted billions of dollars of stimulus money for green technology and jobs, while Congress is working on major legislation addressing climate change.

State and local governments are forging ahead where and when they can, requiring more energy be derived from alternative sources and offering tax breaks for consumers and businesses.

On a grand scale, dozens of countries will meet in Copenhagen for a global climate change summit in December.

More than ever, business is looking for answers—from policymakers, capital markets and its own R&D people. There may not be consensus yet on regulations and valuations but there's a broad agreement that the inevitable is just around the bend: invest in green, prepare for green and profit from green.

In this space, invest in green is by no means an imperative. Green investing is an option and an increasingly more popular one. It is now also a sector of great diversity and various degrees of participation. It's easy to get a little green in your portfolio without enormous risk; at the same time, fortunes will be made on as of yet unproven technologies and products.

Some would compare the green tech revolution to the Internet one of 15 years ago. That too had its true believers, early adopters and chorus of skeptics.

A healthy dose of skepticism is appropriate for investing—as is a good measure of research. If you are ready to invest in green or even just curious about it, think of this special report as an starter's guide.

And for those looking for a little fun, try our green quiz.