HSBC suspends banker over climate remarks Business

HSBC reportedly suspended a senior executive ahead of an internal investigation into a presentation he made that accused central bankers of exaggerating the financial risks of climate change.

Stuart Kirk, global head of responsible investing in HSBC’s asset management division, attacked climate-related “crazy jobs” during his speech.

Britain’s biggest bank had been called on to sack Mr Kirk after he attacked climate activists and asked ‘who cares if Miami is six meters under water in 100 years?’

The bank was forced to distance itself from the comments after downplaying climate risks. Mr. Kirk said at a conference: “there’s always some psycho who talks to me about the end of the world”.

The decision to suspend the senior HSBC banker, which was reported by the Financial Times, comes after the Cabinet’s green champion refused to condemn his remarks earlier in the day.

Alok Sharma, chairman of Cop26, said HSBC is ‘committed to climate action’ despite its chief responsible investment officer saying last week that global warming is ‘not a financial risk we need to be concerned about. worry”.

Speaking to The Telegraph in Davos, Mr Sharma also warned that oil and gas companies must deliver detailed quarter-by-quarter investment plans or face the threat of a windfall tax after making ‘vague promises’ despite huge profits.

He declined to criticize “individuals in individual organisations” and supported HSBC’s response, but said climate skepticism is “not the perspective I find when talking about financial services”.

Mr Sharma, who led last year’s climate talks in Glasgow, said it was “quite understandable” for countries to increase fossil fuel production to boost their energy security in the short term after that supplies were threatened following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Since last year’s COP26, many countries have turned to dirty fuel sources, such as coal, to boost national energy supplies, with UK ministers soon deciding to back the opening of a coal mine in Cumbria.

“You have to keep the lights on as a government, you have to make sure the factories keep running. It’s completely understandable,” Mr. Sharma said.

“What is also of vital importance is that governments do not make decisions that block emissions in the medium and long term.

Soaring oil and gas company profits since Russia invaded Ukraine have prompted the prime minister and chancellor to consider a windfall tax to pay for the cost of living.

Mr Sharma waded into the Cabinet debate over a windfall tax after other ministers spoke out against the plans on Sunday.

He warned oil and gas companies to keep their ‘vague promises’ and provide detailed quarter-by-quarter investment plans to avoid government action after making ‘huge, huge profits’.

Mr Sharma said: ‘They talked about how much they could invest until 2030. I think what we need to see are those short-term details, and we need to see those investment plans quarter by quarter. trimester.

“It’s a question of transparency and ultimately it’s also a question of fairness and I think the oil and gas majors have to respond to that.”

He added that the government must “keep all options on the table” as the rift over the windfall tax in Cabinet widens. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday he was “instinctively” opposed to a windfall tax.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-22 23:05:12

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