Forget the hoopla over exchange-traded and emerging markets funds. If there's one new, significant development in the world that the U.S. mutual fund industry should take advantage of through the launch of new funds, it's the increasing worry over global warming.

Assets in socially responsible investing (SRI) funds have quadrupled from a mere $639 billion in 1995 to an estimated $2.5 trillion this year, and more mainstream asset managers are embracing the concept. But those assets could be significantly higher.

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