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Top 3 stories

1) Documentary critical of air pollution goes viral in China

Under the Dome is the climate film taking China by storm, writes Celia Hatton for BBC News from Beijing. Shown on the video sharing site YouKu, it has had 20 million views (plus another 5 million on a smaller video site) and is yet to be banned,reports Nikhil Sonnad for Quartz – who draws comparisons with Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.

The unprecedented “viral” film – made by former TV presenter Chai Jing – has sparked further debate on the link between coal and air pollution, and the nation is to launch a five-year action plan to make coal use cleaner and more efficient. Meanwhile, the coal sector is seeking clearer standards – and subsidies – to effect this the changes, reports China Daily.

2) Russian energy deal in North Sea – the commentary continues

A number of outlets are scrutinising Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s purchase of RWE AG’s oil and gas business for 5.1 billion euros. The NY Times’ Stanley Reed says it comes at a contentious time, citing the awkward situation of Lord Browne – who’s become executive chairman of the oligarch’s company on the same day Mr Fridman’s firm was threatening to sue the British government.

Fridman says he will take it to court if the UK tries to stop the deal over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis, but indebted RWE is largely unconcerned. Christopher Adams details the communications between the UK government and the Fridman in his piece in the FT.

3) Climate change contributed to Syria conflict, study finds

A study from the universities of Columbia and California has traced the conflict in Syria back to a record drought worsened by global warming.

A Quartz piece by Hanna Kozlowska reports that the study was in part triggered by an observation by NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who wrote in 2012 about the “Arab awakening” being driven by the less visible stresses of environment, population and climate.

In other news

Europe’s unlikely to meet its climate goals, a new study finds.

Modi’s first budget sends mixed messages on India’s climate commitment, as the country’s coal ministry re-examines coal mine bids amid reports of discrepancies.

The British public think wind power subsidies are 14 times higher than they are.

‘Would a Labour or Tory government be better for the environment?’ asks Karl Mathiesen in the Guardian.

Veneuzuela’s got a four-letter word campaign against fracking.

First solar powered round-the-world flight to take off from Abu Dhabi later this week.