President Biden claimed success Tuesday as he left Glasgow, Scotland wrapping up a European trip that included meetings with the pope, summits with world leaders, and the United Nations climate conference.
“I think we got a lot done,” Mr. Biden said of global leaders’ efforts to combat climate change at the conference, known as COP26. “I can’t think of any two days where more has been accomplished dealing with climate than these two days.”
Speaking with reporters at the conclusion of COP26, Mr. Biden ticked off a list of what he viewed as his major accomplishments on the trip. His list included rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and reaching an agreement to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees celsius. The U.S. also joined other nations pledging to reduce methane emissions and to halt deforestation.
Mr. Biden said he told the world leaders that the U.S. will be their partner in meeting the climate crisis. Critics said the conference lacked impact without the participation of China and Russia, two of the world’s biggest polluters.
The president on Friday kicked off his European trip with a meeting audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The pope seemed to put to rest the debate among U.S. bishops whether Mr. Biden should be denied the Holy Eucharist because of his support for abortion policies.
Mr. Biden said the pope called him “a good Catholic” and told him that he should continue to receive the Eucharist.
The president then went to work patching up a frayed relationship with France, one of America’s oldest allies. In September the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia announced a defense agreement to help Australia develop nuclear submarines.
Australia then scuttled a multi-billion deal with France, which was to provide it with convention submarines. France reacted angrily to the news, recalling its ambassador to the U.S. back to Paris.
Mr. Biden admitted that his administration was “clumsy” in handling the deal, but he emphasized that France was a “valued partner.” French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to agree, saying the nations “clarified together what we had to clarify.”
During the meeting of leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, Mr. Biden struck two agreements that will impact U.S. businesses.
First, he secured leaders’ final blessing on a global minimum tax, which will make it harder for large corporations to avoid taxes.
Mr. Biden also reached a deal with the European Union to roll back Trump-era tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
There were a few missteps during the trip, including the presidential motorcade getting into a minor accident after leaving the Vatican.
The administration was forced to go on the defensive Monday after Mr. Biden urged OPEC and Russia to open up their oil supply. That call appeared to be inconsistent with the president’s demand to cut back on fossil fuels.
White House climate czar John Kerry insisted there was “no inconsistency” in the administration’s position, arguing that the production boost was only temporary.
Mr. Biden also caused a social media eruption after a video surfaced of him appearing to doze off during the opening speeches at the climate conference. He closed his eyes with his arms crossed while appearing to drift in and out of sleep.
• Valerie Richardson contributed to this report.
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