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President Obama on Tuesday told the leaders of small island nations that they might find themselves completely submerged because of climate change, and said the world may need to deal with "tens of millions of refugees."

"I am an island boy," Obama told leaders of the 39-nation Alliance of Small Island States. "I understand both the beauty but also the fragility," he said, alluding to his upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia.

"Some of their nations could disappear entirely and as weather patterns change, we might deal with tens of millions of climate refugees in the Asia Pacific region," Obama said during his meeting with the group that was part of his trip to Paris for the United Nations climate summit.

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