A major theme for investors will be the growing volatility of weather, a symptom of global warming. The increase of floods, hurricanes and other powerful storms could decrease the value of coastal real estate, for example.
Faster swings between hot and cold temperatures are also likely to affect agriculture and drive up the cost of food. Investing in those commodities has both the potential for profit and to protect against losses in businesses that could suffer, like restaurants or packaged food makers.
"Investors are increasingly thinking about how climate volatility will impact what's already in their portfolios. The price of water, commodities and other basic assets are likely to increase as they become more scarce, making them a good hedge against other businesses that could be hurt by higher supply chain costs," said Christopher Wolfe, chief investment officer for the private banking and investment group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
Read MoreBiggest risk to utility stocks: You going solar
The hard part, of course, is correctly picking the winners and losers.
Like many nascent industries, there are many more players now than there will be following consolidation of market share by future top players. Bets on emerging companies like Tesla Motors or SolarCity can be volatile even if they ultimately prove to be great long-term investments.
"Some of these companies will succeed but figuring out which ones, that won't be easy," said UBS' Bertocci. "Investing in something that's a little bit more immediate makes sense to me."
Instead, Bertocci recommends established companies with growing energy efficiency plays, like non-U.S. carmarkers and home builders and insulation businesses.
Bertocci's views on broadening investments beyond speculative clean-tech bets echo work done by Deutsche Bank's Climate Change Advisors unit.
"In effect, investing in more diversified companies with either a multi-sector approach to climate change or a mixed exposure to climate change (vs. other industries) can ... help lower risk and give access to a broader range of opportunities," Mark Fulton, global head of climate change investment research, said in a 2012 report. "It is certainly not just about pure-play wind and solar public equities!"
For most retail investors, the main way to translate climate-change views into portfolios is buying or selling stocks. Bonds can go through a similar analysis, and a small group is specifically designed to be green.
Read MoreWhy big investors are excited about a 0.62% coupon bond
Climate-change strategies only open to wealthy investors and institutions, can be esoteric and long term. They include buying up farm or timberland, investing in start-up clean tech companies as a venture capital backer or buying rights to water via private equity funds.
It's also possible to outsource some of the decision-making to mutual fund managers. Companies like Parnassus Investments, Calvert Investments, Neuberger Berman and Pax World offer funds that invest only in companies that they deem to respect the environment, while potentially screening out those that hurt it.
Regardless of how investors do it, climate change investing has evolved from just avoiding some stocks and pushing other companies to go green with shareholder resolutions.
"There's a broad trend—people are interested in these kinds of companies, and the information to make better investment decisions is coming to the forefront," Betocci said of picking investments with the help of an environmental lens. "There are actually some investment opportunities in terms of companies that are good at these things."
—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne