Climate change has been singled out as a key point for discussion at the APEC conference, due to start in Sydney in a little over two weeks.
But without the agreement of the world's biggest polluter, the United States, any consensus would be meaningless.
Recently Mr Bush invited the European Union and 15 other countries, including Australia, to take part in a summit at the end of next month to develop long-term voluntary goals to cut greenhouse emissions.
The United States is the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, responsible for almost 7.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions a year. Yet the US has been dragging its feet on tackling the threat of global warming.
But Elliot Diringer from the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change says there are signs of change.
"I'd say it's possible that we could see comprehensive climate legislation signed while President Bush is in office. [But] I think it's more likely that that will come after the 2008 election," he said.
The Bush Administration has long opposed mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions - the major contributor to global warming - but its position is shifting.
Mr Bush recently made a surprise pledge to seek international agreement on long-term greenhouse gas reductions, inviting the world's biggest polluters, including Australia, to a meeting in Washington next month.
David Hawkins heads the Climate Centre at the Natural Resources Defence Council. He is urging the President to back legislation to curb global warming and to set up a carbon trading system before the conference.
"We have to be sceptical, unfortunately, because the President has taken his whole two terms of office talking about global warming but unfortunately not doing very much about it," he said.
Mr Hawkins says Australia should only attend the Washington conference if Mr Bush acts.
"From our standpoint, the countries that he's invited to come to this meeting should basically say... to our President, 'If you want us to come to this meeting we have to know that it's worth coming to'," he said.
Mr Diringer says action from the US is crucial to the global effort.
"The global effort really is at a standstill at the moment and that's primarily because the US has stood off to the side," he said.
"What we need now is for the US to adopt some mandatory limits on its emissions here at home and then to re-engage internationally and lead the effort to establish a really strong global agreement."
Mr Bush insists he is following commonsense policies when it comes to energy and the environment. He wants regulations to cut gasoline consumption by 20 per cent over 10 years, in part by producing 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels.
The US Congress is a step ahead. This month the House of Representatives passed legislation requiring most utilities to produce 15 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources.
But the 786 Bill did not include an increase in fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, which supporters call the most effective way of cutting oil consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Senate passed its own energy legislation in June. It does require better fuel mileage for vehicles as well as making sure half of all the new cars made by 2015 are capable of running on either 85 per cent ethanol or on biodiesel.
But so far, only individual politicians have been touting a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, and none of their proposals have been passed.
The House and Senate now have to sort out their differences before passing the revised legislation to the President.
Mr Diringer says the legislation signifies a major shift in political focus.
"The difference today from just six or seven months ago is really quite profound," he said.
"Congress is at this stage deeply engaged in the climate debate, focused very heavily on designing domestic legislation to set those mandatory limits."
Many US business leaders sense that carbon constraints are inevitable and are voluntarily reducing emissions. Seventeen US states have also vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It seems that the American political climate is beginning to favour action on climate change.