Now he's changed his mind.
"I certainly thought a few months ago that the only way to break the emissions obsession was to pull out of Paris," he said.
"I think that the government has lost its emissions obsession now that Angus Taylor is the energy minister so I don't think it is now necessary ... I'm not calling for us to pull out."
When asked what circumstances had changed, Mr Abbott was blunt: "We've got a new prime minister and a new energy minister."
Malcolm Turnbull, who replaced Mr Abbott as prime minister in late 2015, subsequently tweeted that statement was incorrect.
"Today the cheapest form of new dispatchable or baseload energy is renewables plus storage," Mr Turnbull wrote.
Source: Environment Department
The last straw for agitators against Mr Turnbull's leadership - including Mr Abbott - last August was his national energy guarantee policy, which would have required electricity generators to cut emissions while meeting reliability standards.
Current prime minister Scott Morrison has recently announced a $2 billion extension to Mr Abbott's emission reduction fund - now rebadged as the climate solutions fund - and Commonwealth funding for Mr Turnbull's pet hydro-electricity project Snowy 2.0.
The former prime minister and leading independent candidate for his seat of Warringah have gone toe-to-toe in a fiery debate on key federal election issues including climate change.
Abbott interjected several times while Zali Steggall was speaking on topics such as climate change, transport and immigration during the heated debate at a Tourism and Transport Forum leadership summit in Sydney.
"I think he needs to learn the error of his ways and improve his manners," Ms Steggall told reporters.