Newsletter: Warmer Climate, But Colder Relations

Emilie Enger Mehl på Svalbard
Justice and Preparedness Minister Emilie Enger Mehl struggles to explain why foreigners in Longyearbyen are stripped of their voting rights. Here from Mehl's first meeting with business and politicians on Svalbard in 2021. (Photo: Line Nagell Ylvisåker)

Dear High North News reader; While the heat records in the Arctic keep coming, relations get colder. At least in Svalbard, where the Norwegian government deprives a significant part of the population of the right to vote. NATO and defense were also a hot topic in the past week.

Climate change is causing alarming high temperatures in the Arctic. In fact, new research shows that the Arctic climate is disappearing before our eyes, and what a few decades ago was the occasional poor winter up north has become the new normal.

“The future Arctic will not be the Arctic we know today”, say climate researchers at the University of Tromsø, who say that the Arctic is warming at record speed. 


On a human level, politically created changes causes colder climate between people”, writes Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm in this week's commentary. 

The changes he is referring to are the Norwegian Government's new requirement about three years of residency in a Norwegian municipality for non-Norwegian citizens in order to have the right to vote and be eligible for Longyearbyen Local Council. 

Foreigners not having any affiliation to the Norwegian mainland will thus lose their right to vote and the opportunity to stand for local council. 

“The Norwegian neo-nationalism in Svalbard stirs surprisingly little debate”, says Holm. 

NATO week

Next week, the NATO countries will meet in Madrid, where, among other things, Finnish and Swedish membership are on the agenda. While they wait, Finland is ready to resist a possible attack from Russia. 

"Finland has prepared for a Russian attack for decades and would put up stiff resistance should one occur", its armed forces chief says. 

Ahead of the summit, the Nordic foreign ministers will meet in Bodø on Monday, where they will discuss the war in Ukraine and the High North. 

Canada is also upgrading its defense and over the next six years the country will invest close to five billion dollars to modernize continental defense. 

"This is the most significant upgrade to NORAD from a Canadian perspective in almost four decades", the Canadian Defense Minister announces. 

Health and Industry

Greenland has now launched a project to use drones to transport medication and diagnostic samples between the capital city of Nuuk and small settlements. 

And the Finnish company Infinited Fiber Company plans to invest €400 million in a new textile fiber factory in Kemi, Lapland. The factory will be located at the site of the town's closed paper mill.

You will find this and more at High North News and do not forget to send your tip to 

On behalf of the HNN-crew, I wish you the best possible weekend.

Best regards from Trine Jonassen, News Editor.