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Friday, September 27, 2002. Posted: 16:02:37 (AEDT)

Global warming could increase health risks: scientists

Scientists are warning global warming could herald the return of malaria to Australia and cause more incidences of salmonella and Ross River fever.

The last day of the Climate and Culture Conference in Canberra has heard average temperatures could rise by up to three degrees over the next century.

Those warmer conditions could provide an ideal breeding ground for the malaria virus.

Tony McMichael from the Australian National University says Australia must change its habits of energy consumption to avoid the ecological disaster.

"It's high time Australia realised that it's got to put its shoulder to the wheel along with the other nations of the world and make a fair contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible," he said.