Barack Obama jokingly congratulates himself after listing his economic accomplishments: 'Thanks Obama'

Obama did not explicitly mention President Donald Trump by name but made a plea for officials to persevere with efforts to tackle climate change

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 06 December 2017 11:07
Barack Obama jokes 'Thanks, Obama' when talking about climate change progress

Former president Barack Obama has jokingly thanked himself in a speech outlining the economic achievements of his administration.

Obama drew attention to the Paris Climate Agreement, the international climate accord he helped forge during his presidency, which his successor President Donald Trump has now withdrawn the US from.

During a speech at the North American Climate Summit in Chicago on Tuesday, the ex-president said: “We met resistance every step of the way.”

He continued: “There were sceptics who said these actions would kill jobs and depress growth. As we took these actions, we saw the US economy grow consistently.”

“We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far. A streak that still continues, by the way.”

“Thanks, Obama,” he added, prompting laughter and applause from the audience.

This was an apparent nod to the “Thanks Obama” meme which was started by conservatives on Twitter in 2009 and 2010 to thank Obama for their frustrations with his presidency such as healthcare reform.

But the meme was re-appropriated after the 2010 midterm election to sarcastically blame Obama for every mishap imaginable, including everything from a man spilling food to the power going out at the Super Bowl in 2013.

Obama also used the speech to address President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the landmark climate agreement, saying it was “difficult to defend.”

“But the good news is that the Paris agreement was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own. It was going to be up to all of us,” he said.

President Trump announced he would be withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement in June, making the US the only country in the world not to get behind the framework deal to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama did not explicitly mention Mr Trump by name during the 14-minute speech but made a plea for officials who were there to persevere with efforts to tackle climate change in spite of the Trump administration’s attitude to the planet warming.

He applauded American mayors, academics and business leaders as being the ”new face of American leadership on climate change“.

The accord was signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015 in an attempt to restrict global greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to within two degrees Celsius.

”In this environment right now, it's easy sometimes to feel discouraged, and feel as if people are talking past each other,“ Obama said.

"This is where the particular talents of mayors come in. Because first of all, you are used to dealing with folks who can sometimes be unreasonable. You are accustomed to having to deal with the realities in front of you and take action, not just talk about it.“

Syria, the last nation outside the pact, became a signatory of the Paris climate agreement last month.

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