When Bill Maher ranted about how the exploration of Mars would distract from the utter necessity of fighting climate change, he pegged the cost of going to the Red Planet at $450 billion. However, according to a group of executives called the Energy Transitions Commission’s (ETC) and with whom Al Gore is associated with is demanding as much as $15 trillion over the next 25 years to remake the energy economy to one that has zero net carbon emissions. Only thus will the world avoid a two-degree rise in the average temperature, apparently as great a disaster as an asteroid strike.

Thus turning away from Mars would not even pay for one year of fighting global warming.

One has the distinct impression that the demand is not serious. The economic effects of siphoning off $600 billion a year from the world economy would be devastating beyond evaluation. No guarantee exists that a massive, centralized effort to transition from fossil fuels to renewables will even work. Recent experience during the Obama administration suggests that such an undertaking would fail spectacularly.

If the demand is not serious, it is being made for one of two reasons.

The first possibility is that the proposal is being made to poison the well for climate change efforts. However, it is very unlikely that any organization involving former Vice President Al Gore is going to do that.

Gore is a true believer in the doctrine of climate change, especially when it fattens his wallet.

The other possibility is that the $15 trillion price tag is a bargaining position. The “real” cost is somewhat less, say $5 trillion. But that assumes that most people already accept the notion that human-caused climate change is real and needs to be stopped at all costs.

Since many people, like President Trump, view climate change as a scam to separate people from their money, this theory seems unlikely as well.

We are therefore left with the unhappy idea that the ETC is serious in wanting $15 trillion with which to Save The World. Either the members of the group believe that the amount of money is required to fix global warming or they want everyone else to think so.

Either way, the fact that a group of allegedly serious people would make such a demand is sobering. Do they believe that we are all idiots or are they idiots?

The sensible reaction is to tell the ETC, “Nice try, folks. If you want to develop nonfossil fuel energy sources and carbon capture mechanism, do it on your own dime. It might help if you find a way to make it profitable.” That should not be a problem at all.