‘Frozen Gore’ sculpture returns in Fairbanks to fuel climate change debate
by Jeff Richardson / firstname.lastname@example.org
FAIRBANKS - In what might become an annual tradition, an ice sculpture of former Vice President Al Gore has taken its place in front of Thrifty Liquor along Airport Way.
The two-ton “Frozen Gore” sculpture isn’t exactly a tribute. It’s a tongue-in-cheek critique of Gore’s vocal belief in man-made climate change, complete with hot air pouring out of his mouth.
Local businessmen Craig Compeau and Rudy Gavora contracted the piece from award-winning sculptor Steve Dean and say they’ll keep erecting one each winter until Gore accepts an invitation to discuss the global warming issue in Fairbanks.
“We do want to invite debate,” Compeau said. “We don’t agree with his theories — we’re suspicious of the financial motivation behind them.”
This year’s version includes special effects, thanks to a system that pipes the exhaust from a Ford F-350 out of Gore’s open mouth. Compeau will fire up the truck periodically this winter to create the “hot air” effect.
With temperatures in the single digits, about 10 people laughed as smoke poured out of the sculpture as it was unveiled Tuesday morning. An excerpt of a recent Gore speech on climate change played over a loudspeaker.
Compeau said the sculpture is inspiring a contest, in which the winner will receive winter gear and an Al Gore bobblehead doll.
He’s asking people to guess how long an F-350 would need to run to match the emissions of a Lear jet flight from Gore’s home in Tennessee to Copenhagen, the site of a recent international climate change summit.
In an e-mail, a Gore spokeswoman said the former vice president doesn’t own a Lear jet and flew to and from Copenhagen aboard commercial flights.
Compeau said he’ll change the wording so his Web site doesn’t claim Gore took a private jet but said the contest will remain the same. He said Gore has been guilty of hypocrisy in the past on the climate change issue.
“I know he’s gone out of his way to be seen flying commercial, but in the past, he’s flown on a Lear jet,” he said.
Last year’s inaugural Gore ice sculpture got national attention, including mentions on The Drudge Report, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Compeau said his Web site, which included photos and information about the sculpture and contest, attracted 1.7 million visitors.
Compeau said he was swamped with feedback, including hundreds, if not thousands, of e-mails. He said only a few were negative and that most people found the sculpture entertaining.
Compeau said he’s not denying that human activities might play a role in global warming but he’s skeptical of political solutions that Gore and others are advocating. He said huge sums of government money are unlikely to solve the problem.
“Before we start carbon taxing … let’s try and educate ourselves,” he said.
Climate change scientists say Alaska has warmed by 3 degrees Fahrenheit during the past
50 years. The average temperature for 2009 was 27.8 degrees in Fairbanks, about one degree warmer than normal, said Rick Thoman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Last winter, however, was unusually cold in Fairbanks. Temperatures in the winter months of
2008-09 were about 4 degrees below normal, according to National Weather Service figures.
A video of the sculpture and contest entry forms are available at www.frozengore.com.
Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518.
'Frozen Gore' sculpture in AK fuels warming debate
Jan. 6, 2010 10:41 AM
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Another two-ton ice sculpture of former Vice President Al Gore is back in front of a Fairbanks liquor store.
"Frozen Gore" is a dig at Gore's beliefs about climate change.
The first statue went on display last year. This year's version is hooked up to the exhaust of a pickup truck to make it appear Gore is spouting hot air. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the smoke drew laughs from a crowd Tuesday as a Gore speech on climate change played over a loudspeaker.
The sculpture was commissioned by two businessmen, Craig Compeau and Rudy Gavora, who want Gore to discuss global warming in Fairbanks.