HSBC executive suspended after he ranted about climate 'nutjobs' QUITSJuly 7, 2022
HSBC executive who was suspended after he ranted about climate ‘nutjobs’ and said ‘who cares if Miami is underwater’ QUITS as he blasts bank’s ‘cancel culture’ and ‘virtue signalling’
- Stuart Kirk was global head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management
- He made the comments during a speech at an industry conference in May
- The banker has now quit according to a post attributed to him on LinkedIn
A senior HSBC executive who was suspended after he ranted about climate ‘nutjobs’ and said ‘who cares if Miami is underwater’ has resigned from his role.
Stuart Kirk, the global head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management, made the inflammatory comments during a speech at an industry conference in May.
At the time, he said that central bank policymakers and other global authorities had exaggerated the financial risks of climate change.
The banker has now quit according to a post attributed to him on professional networking site LinkedIn on Thursday.
‘Ironically given my job title, I have concluded that the bank’s behaviour towards me since my speech at a Financial Times conference in May has made my position, well, unsustainable,’ Mr Kirk said.
Stuart Kirk, the global head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management, made the inflammatory comments during a speech at an industry conference in May
‘Investing is hard. So is saving our planet. Opinions on both differ. But humanity’s best chance of success is open and honest debate.
‘If companies believe in diversity and speaking up, they need to walk the talk. A cancel culture destroys wealth and progress.
‘There is no place for virtue signalling in finance.’
Mr Kirk said he was now preparing a new venture that will demonstrate ‘human ingenuity can and will overcome the challenges ahead, while at the same time offering huge investment opportunities’.
In the meantime, he said he would continue to challenge the ‘nonsense, hypocrisy, sloppy logic and group-think’ that had sullied the world of sustainable finance.
At the conference in May, Mr Kirk’s comments were made despite the theme, content and slides of the talk being agreed to internally, sources told The Financial Times.
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.’ Pictured: Front side beach, Miami (stock image)
Opening the speech, Mr Kirk said: ‘Climate change is not a risk we need to worry about – heresy!’
He continued: ‘I feel like it’s getting a little bit out of hand, the constant reminder that we are doomed. The constant reminder that in decades it’s all over. It’s become so hyperbolic that no one knows how to get people’s attention any more.
‘After 25 years in the finance industry there’s always some nutjob telling me about the end of the world.
How scientists have predicted Miami will ‘cease to exist’ by next century
Scientific studies have previously warned Miami is at risk of being inundated by rising seas caused by global warming.
Experts have already established that if we do nothing to reduce our burning of fossil fuel up to the year 2100, the planet will face sea level rise of 14-32 feet (4.3–9.9 meters), a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said.
The 2015 study then pinpointed 414 cities in the US that were particularly at risk. Many could be saved if dramatic cuts were made to carbon emissions, but some – including Miami – were already doomed, it claimed.
‘In our analysis, a lot of cities have futures that depend on our carbon choices but some appear to be already lost,’ wrote lead author Ben Strauss, vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central.
‘And it is hard to imagine how we could defend Miami in the long run.’
Left-wing Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gone further, suggesting that Miami will cease to exist ‘in a few years’ without radical action.
‘But what bothers me about this one, is the amount of work these people make me do, the amount of regulation coming down the pipes, the number of people in my team and at HSBC dealing with financial risks from climate change.’
Mr Kirk suggested too many resources were being directed at a problem that is ’20 or 30 years down the line’.
‘I work at a bank that’s being attacked by crypto. We’ve got regulators in the US trying to stop us. We’ve got the China problem.
‘We’ve got a housing crisis looming. We’ve got interest rates going up.
‘We’ve got inflation coming down the pipes and I’m being told to spend time… looking at something that’s going to happen in 20 or 30 years. Hence, the proportionality is completely out of whack.’
He added: ‘Human beings have been fantastic at adapting to change, adapting to climate emergencies, and we will continue to do so.
‘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.
‘I don’t doubt the science but we do need to adapt.’
HSBC says that climate change is one of the most serious emergencies facing the planet, but Mr Kirk suggested it is not a big deal for the high street bank.
He explained: ‘At a big bank like ours, what do people think the average loan length is? It is six years. What happens to the planet in year seven is actually irrelevant to our loan book. For coal, what happens in year seven is actually irrelevant. Let’s get back to making money out of the transition.’
He also took a pop at former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who has previously said that climate change will dwarf the cost of living pain.
‘I completely get that at the end of your central bank career there are still many, many years to fill in.
‘You have to say something, you have to fly around the world to conferences, you have to out-hyperbole the next guy, but I feel like it is getting a little bit out of hand,’ said Mr Kirk.
Source: Read Full Article