In a world increasingly fraught with risks, leading near-term concerns are shifting to the dangers of technology and related problems like the spread of disinformation, and away from economic worries, according to an annual survey of policymakers, industry leaders and experts on risk conducted by the World Economic Forum.

The survey of more than 1,400 experts and leaders, released on Wednesday ahead of the WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next week, points to a moderately risky global environment through 2026 that deteriorates significantly over the coming decade.

Half of the 10 top global risks foreseen through 2034—including the top four—are related to climate change and environmental degradation.

Risks from large-scale armed conflict, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Israel’s battles with Palestinian militants, are also perceived as greatly increasing. The survey, which was conducted in September and early October, was largely concluded before Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, prompting Israel’s large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip. The war has since spread into a regional conflict that now includes attacks on commercial shipping through the Suez Canal, with potential broader economic impact.

“Underlying geopolitical tensions combined with the eruption of active hostilities in multiple regions is contributing to an unstable global order characterized by polarizing narratives, eroding trust and insecurity,” said WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi in a preface to the report.

The survey is notable for the decline in concerns about immediate economic dangers such as inflation and a recession. Top concerns in last year’s survey—which was conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and its resulting economic shocks—included high inflation and persistent pressure on prices for food and energy. While those worries remain at the forefront, they have been eclipsed by other dangers after the world economy weathered 2023 better than most analysts had predicted.

Among economic concerns, cost-of-living pressures remain high, with the pricing and availability of housing emerging as a new flashpoint worldwide. Such pocketbook issues can engender other risks such as societal polarization, which ranks as the No. 3 concern over the next two years in the survey.

But with inflation subsiding and employment remaining strong in most advanced economies, money worries have been eclipsed by fears around new technologies and their impact on society.

The concern isn’t abstract: More than 75 countries will hold national elections this year, including for leaders in the U.S., South Africa, Mexico and India. Taiwan kicks off the exceptionally busy calendar on Saturday with a cliffhanger vote that has drawn intense interest from China, which considers the island a breakaway province.

The survey observes: “The widespread use of misinformation and disinformation, and tools to disseminate it, may undermine the legitimacy of newly elected governments. Resulting unrest could range from violent protests and hate crimes to civil confrontation and terrorism.”

Alongside more traditional risks, the report examines more systemic risks from changes in fundamental spheres other than the environment, such as demographics, technology and the geostrategic landscape. Respondents see governance systems pushed beyond what they were established to handle and a decline in international cooperation to address cross-border problems.

Extreme-weather events are seen as the leading risk over the coming decade and the No. 2 risk through 2026. Other environmental risks in the next decade include critical changes to Earth’s systems, biodiversity loss and ecosystem damage, natural-resource shortages and pollution.

Involuntary migration—a leading societal risk in the report—is in many cases prompted by environmental problems and feeds into social polarization, another top societal risk identified.

“These transnational risks will become harder to handle as global cooperation erodes,” Zahidi said.

Write to Daniel Michaels at