Trump at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Photo: Ralf Hirschberger/picture alliance via Getty Images

In a joint declaration released Saturday, leaders of G20 nations reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change by upholding the Paris Agreement — with the exception of the U.S.

The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilizing all sources and technologies, while protecting the environment.
— G20 communique

Between the lines: The Trump administration's position on the Paris Agreement is well known, and a similar clause was included in the communique from last year's G20 summit in Hamburg. But a senior White House official told reporters that the Paris climate section was one of the last issues to be settled "because the countries who typically might agree couldn't agree with each other." Countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia might be starting to second-guess their commitment to a multilateral approach to climate change, the official said.

Yes, but: The U.S. nonetheless joined a separate, energy-focused portion of the communique that references climate change (albeit without using the term).

  • "We recognize the crucial role of energy in helping shape our shared future and we encourage energy transitions that combine growth with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions towards cleaner, more flexible and transparent systems, and cooperation in energy efficiency," it states.

Yet the section also has an oblique shout-out to fossil fuels, a U.S. priority, by noting, "We acknowledge the role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and different possible national paths to achieve cleaner energy systems under the term 'transitions.'"

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add the energy-focused portion of the communique.

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