Former prime minister Tony Abbott says that if the world is getting warmer, it’s a good thing.

Mr Abbott has addressed the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the United Kingdom with a speech called ‘Daring to Doubt’.

In it, he compared the increasing pressure to pay attention to climate science with the forced religious conversions of the Inquisition.

The former PM said modern environmentalism combined “post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause”.

“Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods, we are more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect,” he said.

Mr Abbott said that if the world got warmer, people’s lives would be saved.

“Climate change itself is probably doing good — or at least more good than harm,” he said.

“In most countries far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it is accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change might even be beneficial.”

He also questioned the broad scientific consensus on the mechanisms of climate science, which while varied, is robust.

“The only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia's standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up,” Mr Abbott said. 

He has been slammed by the left side of politics, with Labor accusing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of failing to keep renegade voices in his part in line.