Al Gore ice sculpture unveiled in Fairbanks

Al Gore ice sculpture unveiled in Fairbanks as invitation to discuss global warming

FAIRBANKS — Al Gore can thank the Nobel Committee for honoring him with last winter’s Nobel Peace Prize.

He can also thank Fairbanks businessman Craig Compeau for what could be the farthest-north likeness of the former vice president: A 5-ton ice sculpture of a “shivering” Gore, created during a recent spell of bitterly cold weather in Alaska and aimed at confronting global-warming theories.

Compeau described himself as a "moderate" critic of those who "rabidly" believe that man-made emissions are contributing to a rise in global temperatures. Gore won his Nobel for raising awareness of global warming as one of the greatest challenges facing mankind.

“Be skeptical. Or not. But research it yourself,” Compeau told the roughly three dozen onlookers and reporters gathered at the corner at 10 a.m. Monday under gray skies. “There’s a lot on both sides.

Compeau unveiled the sculpture — created by a local artist Steve Dean — near the downtown Thrifty liquor store, where he said it will stay through March or "until it melts."

The 8 1/2-foot-tall sculpture dominated the corner from its perch on the back of a flatbed truck.

Compeau, who manages an outdoor recreation sporting goods store, said the idea for the carving came two weeks ago, when much of Alaska was suffering from one of the coldest snaps in recent memory. By the time Dean was done with the carving, however, the temperature had warmed to record-breaking highs in the 40s and 50s above zero. Thermometers read 22 degrees Monday morning.

Compeau used the event to invite the Nobel-winner to visit Fairbanks and explain, first-hand, global warming theories.