Merkel proposes cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, setting up a cap and trade system for carbon, and limiting global warming to 2% celsius - goals that are broadly seen as the minimum needed to avert the more severe impacts of global warming. The US rejects all of these goals and, under the guise of defending the rights of individual countries, is pushing for a US led agreement between the world's top emitters that would allow continual increases in greenhouse gases.
Speaking ahead of his meeting, Mr Bush said that instead of backing the proposed emissions caps he favoured his own plan that the worst CO2 emitting nations, including the US, China and India, meet before the year is out to put together a new long-term strategy to tackle the problem.
The US continues to promote reductions in carbon "intensity" and voluntary reduction targets. It is well established that voluntary targets do not work, and as explained here, reducing carbon intensity will do nothing to decrease overall greenhouse gas emissions and consequently will lead to increased global warming.
Meanwhile, outgoing British PM Tony Blair insists that he can convince George Bush to agree to substantial cuts within an UN framework.
Good luck Tony, we're all counting on you.