Neil - what an admirably short piece on such a big topic!
The way I see it is that in "the current economic climate" we should be aiming to increase energy efficiency as much as possible, not ignore it. Times of rising living standards are driven by rising fossil fuel use - so who cares about careful use then. But now we have reached global limits on energy use the only way to improve our standard of living is to get more (comfort, food, etc) out of the same, amounts of energy. If you don't improve efficiency you will become poorer - in the current economic climate you cannot afford not to be green.