Disney puts the spotlight on Svalbard

The nature film unit of entertainment giant Disney is preparing a new documentary on how climate change is affecting the Norwegian-administered Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Part of the filming process, however, doesn’t seem particularly climate-friendly. Norwegian media has noted that Disney applied for, and received, permission for no less than 20 helicopter landings on various […]

Arctic oil prevails over ‘The People’

Norway’s Supreme Court (Høyesterett) ruled in favour of the state on Tuesday in a long-running landmark case billed as pitting “The People vs Arctic Oil.” In this case, the state was not “The People” but instead the government-approved Arctic oil operations that once again won over Norwegians’ alleged constitutional rights to a healthy environment. It marked […]

Biden welcome, not his Arctic oil ban

The vast majority of Norway’s top and mostly liberal politicians welcomed the news this week that Joe Biden finally has been officially elected as the next US president. Most, however, are not at all keen on his proposal to stop oil drilling in the Arctic. Biden has said he intends to make climate issues a […]

Parliament probes flow of oil reports

Just as the Center Party is reaching new heights in voter popularity, one of its former oil ministers has landed in more trouble with Parliament. Ola Borten Moe, who now works in the oil business himself, is suspected of withholding information that some Arctic oil fields could turn out to be unprofitable and expensive for […]

Fury surrounds new Arctic oil licenses

The Norwegian government and Oil Minister Tina Bru came under harsh criticism this week when they offered 136 new oil exploration licenses in more areas of the Arctic. The move comes while the Supreme Court and Parliament are reviewing the risks of earlier Arctic projects, and it was blasted as being both “arrogant” and “reckless.” […]

High court ponders future of Arctic oil

Opponents of offshore oil activity in Norway’s Arctic areas received flowers to mark the end last week of their landmark case against the state at the Supreme Court. As the high court’s deliberations began, the plaintiffs were cheered by earlier signs of royal support, not least after some harsh closing arguments. The case has received lots […]

High court hears Arctic oil appeal

A lengthy legal battle over whether Norway can continue to license oil operations in the Arctic reached the country’s highest court on Wednesday. If the court agrees that Norway has violated its own constitution by issuing licenses for oil industry activity in sensitive Arctic areas, all new oil exploration and production in the Barents Sea […]

Arctic oil losses report withheld

Norway’s Oil & Energy Ministry knew as early as 2013, when it was under the political control of former Oil Minister Ola Borten Moe, that already-controversial oil exploration in Norway’s Arctic could also generate huge losses. Moe’s ministry nonetheless withheld information about the potential losses from Parliament, which ultimately voted to allow Arctic oil drilling […]

Svalbard loses its only bank

News that Norway’s SpareBank1 was closing half of its 31 branches in Northern Norway hit the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard especially hard this week. Sparebank1 has been the only bank with a presence in Svalbard, and residents are unhappy. “This came as a complete surprise to us,” Trond Hellstad, chief of the bank branch in […]

Polar bear attacks man on Svalbard

UPDATED: Both a man from the Netherlands and a polar bear that attacked him during the night in a populated area of Svalbard were confirmed dead on Friday. The shocking attack occurred at a campground near Svalbard’s airport in Longyearbyen, and therefore inside an area generally considered to be safe. Officials on Svalbard were thus […]