Now, the meeting itself, it was short and sweet and included at least as many people from power companies as from governments. So why were the business barons there we asked. How would they enable the Asia Pacific Partnership to cut emissions.
Mr Bodman's answer was that corporations would produce greenhouse gas emissions because they cared. That's it. No really, it is. I went back and checked my recording.
This is the exact quote: "I believe that the people who run the private sector, who run these companies, they too have children, they too have grandchildren, they too live and breed in the world and they would like things dealt with effectively."
Call me cynical if you will but my first thought was: See, you mean corporations like ENRON or Arthur Anderson or WorldCom? And I wasn't alone. Mr Bodman had momentarily silenced an entire press corps.
At the other end of the year - at the other end of the world it seemed, were the pasturalists of Kenya's northern Turkana province. This was an added extra at a gathering which traditionally tries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - that deceptively simple phrase again - the annual round of United Nations climate negotiations, this time in Nairobi.
I was out and about with the British Environment Secretary David Miliband in the Turkana bush. In a clearing shaded by giant trees and dotted with termite mounds almost as big a thousand or so people turned out in a variety of tribal costumes. Chants were powerfully sung. Dances were performed with blazing eyes and thumping feet. A large imposing chief with the face of Samuel L Jackson and the voice of a giant told Mr Miliband what his people thought about the changing climate.
And these people did care. These people certainly have children and grandchildren. They certainly live and breed in the world. And they would certainly like things dealt with effectively. Especially the drought which has been drying their water courses and killing their livestock for nearly three years. O yes, they care all right. Because their extensive oral history tells them how the weather was in times gone by. And now they perceive a different pattern, bizarre and dangerous.
Neither meeting produced anything which you could sell to a Turkana chief or to a climate scientist as a meaningful measure against climate change.
I wondered long into many nights why it always ends up like this. Why it is so difficult to curb the global growth in greenhous gas emissions which now runs above two percent per year. Others look to energy forecasts and demographic change and trade blocks for their answers. I've been concentrating on semantics. And it has brought me to a conclusion which is so simple that I can't believe I missed it years ago.
The crux of the matter it seems to me lies in the different ways that scientists and politicians use language. Science is nothing without precision. You mislabel a larinx as a pharinx, cal a nematode a trematode and your career is done. Political language on the other hand is a triumph of misrepresentation. A failure becomes a success when some little crumb of your plan has worked. Winning a battle allows claims of victory, even as the war slips away.
So you can describe climate change as the biggest threat confronting humanity even when you are demonstrably doing more about hospital finances, say, about prisons or some ill-defined threat from abroad. When a scientist talks about reducing greenhouse gas emissions - I told you we'd end up back at this phrase - he or she means just that, actually reducing them. But what it's coming to mean in the political lexicon is something very different. Sydney made that abundantly clear. The publicity from Mr Bodman and his benevolent business allies spoke of reducing emissions, small print acknowledges that if the Asia Pacific Partnership does what it wants to, emissions will still rise but a bit less quickly than they would have done otherwise. Having them grow less fast becomes equivalent to reducing them.
It's a linguistic trick of huge importance to the drought-ridden citizens of Turkana and to everyone else who is likely to be at the sharp end of some climate related impact in the coming years. We should all observe its emergence, document its every use and fear it like the plague.
We were lucky to pick this up because we listened to the BBC at an unusual time. Which proves that it can pay to change habits. We do agree with Richard Black's analysis and would like to add some other factors that aggravate the situation.
A short-list of reasons why opinion-leaders fail to do something effectively and instead frequently aggravate the negative environmental trends: