HSBC suspends senior banker over dismissing climate change warnings as ‘nut jobs’

According to reports, HSBC suspended an executive who alleged that central bank officials and other officials had exaggerated the financial risks of climate change.

While the bank’s executives are not in favor of the speech made by Stuart Kirk at a Financial Times conference, its theme and content had been agreed internally beforehand.

The heading and the topic of the presentation — “Why investors need not worry about climate risk” — had been decided two months earlier and was advertised on the website before the event.

Mr. Kirk, a senior member of the bank’s responsible investing team, stated last week: “Some nut job always tells me the end of the world.”

According to reports, HSBC has suspended a senior banker for categorizing climate change warnings as “unsubstantiated” and also accusing bankers of exaggerating climate change risks.

A speech Mr Kirk made at a bank event last week has prompted an investigation into his role as global head of responsible investing. As part of his London-based job, he examines the impacts of investments on environmental, social, and governance issues.

According to Kirk, the head of global responsible investing at the asset management company of the bank, central bankers and policymakers overstate the risk of climate change in an attempt to “out-hyperbolize each other”.

There was a pressure on the bank to sack Mr Kirk post his presentation that took place on Thursday.

During his address, he downplayed the danger of major floods, telling the audience that he was spending his time looking at something “which is going to happen in 20 or 30 years”.

Mr Kirk said during his 15-minute address at the FT Moral Money Summit that “Climate change is not a financial risk we need to worry about.”

Later in the presentation, Mr Kirk said: “Who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years? Amsterdam has been six metres underwater for ages and that’s a really nice place.”

However, it was embarrassing at the bank’s part to get through this after sponsoring the conference but it did revert back to keep the interests of environmentalists activists intact.

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