Paul J. Saunders

Paul J. Saunders

Senior Advisor

Paul J. Saunders is Senior Advisor and a member of the board of directors at Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP). A thought leader on energy, energy technology, climate policy, and geopolitics, he was President of EIRP from 2019 to 2024 and Chairman from 2014 to 2019. His work at EIRP has focused on the collision between geopolitics and the energy transition.

Saunders is currently serving as President of the Center for the National Interest (CFTNI), where he was Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer from 2005 to 2019. As Executive Director, Saunders directed CFTNI’s U.S.-Russian Relations Program in addition to leading projects on other issues, including energy and climate change and U.S.-Japan relations.  He was also Associate Publisher of the foreign policy magazine The National Interest, published bi-monthly by the Center for the National Interest.

Mr. Saunders served in the Bush Administration from 2003 to 2005 as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. In that capacity, he worked on a broad range of transnational issues, including energy and climate change as well as a variety of regional issues. Earlier, Mr. Saunders served as Director of CFTNI from 1997 to 2003 and was Assistant Director from its founding in 1994 until 1997. In 2000, he was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Speaker’s Advisory Group on Russia, established by the Republican Policy Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He has written extensively for major newspapers and journals, and has been a frequent commentator in national media. Saunders is the author or editor of works including Energy Technology in an Era of Great Power Competition; Land Use Requirements of Solar and Wind Power: Understanding a Decade of Academic Research; Ambitious Mandates, Ambivalent Communities: Land Use Challenges to New York’s Renewable Power Goals; A New Direction in U.S.-Russia Relations? America’s Challenges and Opportunities in Dealing with RussiaExtended Deterrence in a Changing Asia; Essential Partnership: The U.S., Europe and Climate Change; Russian Energy and European Security; and Russia and the Greater Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities (with Geoffrey Kemp).

Saunders holds a B.A. in Political Science and Russian and East European Studies, an M.A. in Political Science, and an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan.