"But the last 30 per cent of your column isn't here." The editor wasn't happy.
"No worries," I said quickly. "It will write itself. It's like the 'future technology breakthroughs' and 'global technology trends' that Scott Morrison's using to meet our emissions targets. It will happen. All we need to do is close our eyes and believe."
This is a family paper so I won't detail what he said next. Let's just say, however, I rapidly decided that I would be handing in my thousand words as normal.
Similarly, even if the PM thinks he can convert vague objectives into real accomplishments with a few genuflections towards scientific breakthroughs, he's wrong.
The public mood is shifting and invoking undefined discoveries as a way of catching up is no longer enough. People want a vision for the future: Morrison's not providing it and that's not a recipe for political success. Particularly when Labor will be doing all they can to ensure climate change becomes the defining issue of the next election.
Let's deal with projections first. The original targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are already out-of-date. Feedback mechanisms are kicking in to make the situation much worse than originally hoped.
Modelling by German scientists Climate Analytics demonstrates even with the current (paltry) reductions factored in we're on a steady trajectory for the temperature to rise by a minimum of 2.9 per cent in fewer than 80 years.
By that point, however, civilisation will have already broken down as individuals do what they can to save themselves.
Just consider one simple example - sea-level rise. This doesn't need to be permanent to make huge tracts of land infertile for agriculture or unsuitable for homes.
Current estimates posit Bangladesh loosing over 10 per cent of its usable land and leaving some 15 million homeless by 2050. Where will the people go?
It doesn't take much to imagine little boats being pushed from country to country all their way down south-east Asia until they reach Christmas Island. What will happen then - toe back to Indonesia?
What if Jakarta won't accept them back? Such threats from uncontrolled migration are, however, likely to be among the least of Canberra's worries by that date.
The damage to our own farmland will have already significantly reduced our standard of living, while floods, heatwaves and changing rainfall patterns will further reduce fertility. It's exactly the issue that you'd think might concern politicians who hail from the bush.
Instead Barnaby Joyce and his sidekick hicks demonstrate they're obliviousness to reality while squabbling over exactly how much of a bribe they'll need to shut up and put their dummies back in their mouths.
It was probably to be expected that Matt Canavan and Keith Pitt would continue arguing about how many clay shooting ranges they might need to be promised before they shut up and folded.
What is a surprise, however, is that Morrison's begun to demonstrate a remarkable incapacity to set - and dominate - the political agenda.
Until now he's always had an instinctive grasp on middle Australia. Today he's beginning to loose that grip on exactly where the country is.
The words that tumble from his mouth are so similar to bovine emissions they might catch fire if you put a match to them.
The Liberals are, for example, the party of business, and yet every significant corporate is already way out in front of the PM on climate change, as are all the industry lobby groups.
Although they're not strictly political organisations they can sniff the wind and they're smelling the scent of change in the public mood. They feel the reality of climate change jingling through the hip pockets of their customers. They understand sentiment has shifted.
The decision by News Corp papers to suddenly wrap their papers with paeans about the need to do something about global warming (and throwing so many columnists overboard as they did so) simply shows politics has moved on.
The national consensus isn't where it was last election - too much has happened over the past three years. Terrible fires and devastating floods are no longer dismissed as one-in-a-hundred-year events and are seen instead for what they are: harbingers of change.
This was Morrison's chance. He could have suddenly dispensed with his old rhetoric as shamelessly as News Corp did and embraced the new way forward.
He's known for over a year that he'd have to find some effective way of dealing with this week's Glasgow climate summit, and yet he's left himself virtually having to print pamphlets to hand out while on the plane flying to Europe. This isn't the sign of a leader who's in control of the agenda.
The PM also missed a brilliant opportunity to shift back into the driver's seat. If he'd been swifter, he would have quickly cobbled together a plan to present to Parliament before departing. Labor couldn't have refused to endorse it - if they had Morrison could have used it to wedge Labor and demonstrate the opposition's bad faith.
And what would the Nats have done anyway - backed away and risk losing a position with a ministerial salary attached? Hardly. The result would have been Morrison looking like a winner and flying to meet other world leaders from a position of strength. Instead the dynamic is reversed.
Pandering to their own audiences their need will be to prove they are doing more. Like any pack of dogs they'll pick on the weakest, doing Labor's work of picking apart the PM's policies.
And what's Morrison won by grudgingly moving towards emissions reductions and supporting his Coalition partners? Looking like a hypocrite as he pretends we'll be "meeting and beating our targets" and getting support from Barnaby Joyce.
He's hardly likely to inspire voters. The words that tumble from his mouth are so similar to bovine emissions they might catch fire if you put a match to them.
Morrison badly needs to find some way of changing the political mood. Banking on the Nats won't help him over the line at the next election.