Newsletter: The Arctic Convenes in a Restless World

Lisa Murkowski Arctic Circle 23.
US Senator for Alaska, Lisa Murkowski speaks to the congretation at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik october 2023. (Photo: Trine Jonassen)

Reykjavik (High North News): Dear reader. In an unclear geopolitical landscape, Arctic leaders, researchers, and indigenous peoples meet in Reykjavik to create clarity and form alliances. Russia is taking greater risks with nuclear fuel, and we are taking a closer look at the ghost of depopulation.

Norsk versjon

Over 2000 people convened in Reykjavik, Iceland, for the tenth Arctic Circle conference from Thursday to Saturday. Renewable energy, cooperation, Russia, China, and geopolitics are topics on the agenda. To name a few. 

That is to say, there were supposed to be over 2,000, but many of those who had their name on the program had to capitulate for Iceland's legendary wind. All flights to the island were canceled on the opening day, and ships could not dock. 

Such is life in the North. Journalist Astri Edvardsen and I had luckily landed before the storm. 

The Arctic Council was one of the dominating topics of discussion on Thursday, and Norway's handling of the takeover of the chairship from Russia was praised. 

The climate crisis was also in focus. The United Arab Emirates Special Envoy for Climate and COP 28 President believes that the Arctic is the frontline for climate change. 

We also learned more about nuclear power while in Iceland. Some calling it a "Nuclear renaissance". (Norwegian only)

And speaking of nuclear power: Just weeks after sending crude oil on non-ice class tankers through the Arctic, Russian authorities shipped nuclear fuel across the Northern Sea Route on a cargo ship not specialized in transporting nuclear fuel.  

Small town reality

"It is ultimately about the rest of the nation's understanding of the importance of a strong Northern Norway," writes Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm in this week's commentary. 

For just over a week, he has driven on icy winter roads throughout the Cap of the North and taken a closer look at what a lack of total preparedness can lead to in the North.

Journalist Hilde-Gunn Bye has met with author and researcher Ingrid Vik, who has taken a closer look at the Norwegian reality in small towns and districts. 

On Friday, Bye turned northward to meet up with the Editor-in-Chief in Båtsfjord, Finnmark, where he lead the "Finnmark conversation" (Norwegian only). 


 On Thursday, the coal power plant in Longyearbyen closed for good. The plant has provided warmth and light for the residents for over 40 years, and it was a historic day for the people of Longyearbyen. 

Statkraft and Aker Horizons are joining forces to develop a large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia project in Narvik, Northern Norway. 

Read about this and more at  High North News. Feel free to follow us on social media. 

Wishing you a great weekend on behalf of the editorial staff,

News Editor Trine Jonassen