What can we expect in 2024? Record global temperatures with increasingly harmful effects, a cost-of-living crisis, and escalating tensions in the Middle East.
These are some of the issues raised in the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2024.
Not to forget that 2024 is set to be the world’s biggest election year ever, with 4 billion people casting a vote across 60 countries. Will threats such as misinformation and polarisation loom large as people head to the polls?
Leaders surveyed in the report believe that extreme weather — one of the consequences of climate change — poses the biggest risk and ranks second overall in terms of severity over the next two years. Global economies are widely unprepared for the consequences of acute weather — from shocks to food systems to large-scale infrastructure damage.
Artificial content and a Middle East war
Misinformation and disinformation are also among the top risks, which could affect elections in the US, Russia, India, Mexico, and dozens of other countries. The threat of misinformation is especially significant, given advancements in AI-generated content.
Moreover, questions are being raised about the conflict in the Middle East and the possibility of the outbreak of a wider war beyond Gaza, given recent attacks in Lebanon and the escalation of interstate armed conflicts.