Chicken little forecast

Still Chugging Along

Volcanoes are erupting in The Philippines, but on-fire Australia received some welcome rain. The Iran war cries have been called off and The Donald’s military powers are about to be hamstrung by the Senate. Meanwhile, his impeachment trial is starting, and we’re all on Twitter for a front-row seat.


What Could Go Right? 2024: The year of elections

More people will vote this year than any other in history.

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas

This is our weekly newsletter, What Could Go Right? Sign up here to receive it in your inbox every Thursday at 5am ET. You can read past issues here.

A record year for elections

The mother of all election years. The Super Bowl of elections. Whatever you want to call it—outlets have gotten creative—2024 will be one for the record books, with more people voting than any other year in history. 

The Atlantic Council, a think tank, counted 83 elections, more than 50 of them national, occurring in 78 countries. That includes seven of the world’s ten most populous countries: India, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, and Mexico are all expected to hold national elections this year. 

Some of these elections are just for show, as in Russia or North Korea, and many of them are likely to be flawed. But even “all-but-certain outcomes can still be worth watching,” as Koh Ewe writes in TIME. Russia’s vote, for instance, may hold signs as to whether the public is growing tired of the war in Ukraine. 

Aside from the heavy hitters above, we’re interested in Mali and Chad, where presidential elections have been promised after years of military rule following coups. If they occur, writes Eric Bazail-Eimil in Politico, “that could encourage other African countries that have also experienced recent coups to move back toward democratic rule, including Niger, Gabon and Sudan. If they don’t, it will set back the yearslong efforts . . . to restore civilian rule.”

Iran is holding parliamentary elections, the country’s first time voting after mass protests in 2022 following the death of a young woman while in police custody. And Taiwan, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom all have significant elections planned as well. Of the many roundups of this year’s upcoming elections, Foreign Policy’s, here, is the most comprehensive and informative.

This election bonanza is often framed as a “buckle up” story; The World Economic Forum sees geopolitical volatility as the world’s biggest risk this year. Billions of the people going to the polls are certain to have a resounding impact. But just as progress is not guaranteed, neither is regress. Let’s see what 2024 has in store.

Quick hits

  • Many are anticipating the US’ own election with bated breath. Fourteen states have passed or are considering legislation, all with bipartisan backing, to regulate deepfakes; Arizona’s top election official is so concerned that he has been running spot-the-deepfake training simulations.
  • There is much going on beyond the presumed Biden-Trump matchup, however. A new year means a slew of new laws:
    • Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, and West Virginia will require financial literacy courses in high school. California is adding media literacy to its K-12 curriculum.
    • Illinois will allow lawsuits from victims of deepfake pornography and cut off state funding for libraries that have banned books for “partisan or doctrinal” reasons.
    • Twenty-two states will raise their minimum wages.
    • New gun laws will come into effect in California, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, Illinois, and Colorado.
    • California is increasing access to drugs such as naxolone that reverse opioid overdoses, and clearing “good samaritans” who administer them from legal liability.
    • Alabamans won’t have to pay tax on any income earned after their 40th hour of work in a week.
    • The New York Times covers all the changes, good and bad—or however you see them—in state law here.

Below in the links section, shipping corridors get greener, drugs for hot flushes win approval, biobots heal wounds, and more.

Chart showing a large drop in UK electricity generation from fossil fuels
The share of electricity generated from fossil fuels in the UK fell by 22 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching the lowest level in 66 years. Renewable electricity generation, meanwhile, rose six-fold from 2008, despite falling slightly from 2022 due to a decline in nuclear output.

What Could Go Right? S5 E12

Promotional image for S5 E12 of the What Could Go Right? podcast

What is vulnerable narcissism? Is #trauma a trend? And what psychological traits define our times? Psychologist and author Scott Barry Kaufman guides us through an examination of why, what, and who we are, advocating for a holistic understanding of intelligence and creativity. | Listen to the episode

Progress, Please

(Found good news? Tweet at us @progressntwrk or email.)

Other good stuff in the news 🚢

Energy & Environment:

Public Health:

Science & Tech:

Politics & Policy:

Society & Culture:


TPN Member originals 🧠

(Who are our Members? Get to know them.)

Department of Ideas 💡
(A staff recommendation guaranteed to give your brain some food for thought.)

Seven things you didn’t know about life expectancy | Scientific Discovery
Life expectancy is being pushed higher. What does this mean, and what does it tell us about the future?

Why we picked it: Is life expectancy a prediction of how long you will live? Why is it higher than ever before (although not in the US)? Everything you didn’t know you needed to know about life expectancy. —Emma Varvaloucas

Until Next Time

Improve your 2024 with a look at what was happening around the world 100 years ago. 🏗️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post a Comment
Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas is the Executive Director of The Progress Network. An editor and writer specializing in nonprofit media, she was formerly Executive Editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and is the editor of two books from Wisdom Publications.