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Cancun Climate Talks Enter Stretch Run

Political theater is best practiced on a sunny, sandy stage. STR/AP hide caption

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STR/AP

Sierra Club activists bearing the flags of more than 20 countries bury their heads in Cancun, Mexico's, sandy beach Friday to symbolize their view of how United Nations climate talks are progressing.

The second week of negotiations kicked off Monday, with participants from 193 countries seeking to reach a deal that failed to materialize at last year's Copenhagen summit.

"We cannot leave Cancun empty-handed," Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's top climate official, told the AP.

While a range of issues are in play, the most difficult nettle to grasp continues to be a binding pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions beyond what was spelled out in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.