Meat industry heads say they're generally supportive of the Climate Change Commission's draft report and its focus on reducing the use of fossil fuels.
However, the Meat Industry Association said in a statement it was concerned about the stated 15 per cent reduction in sheep, cattle and dairy numbers.
Red meat processors and exporters were committed to reducing and eventually eliminating the use of coal, although achieving the commission's 2037 target will be difficult, Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said.
"We do need a fair and just transition away from coal to ensure jobs and livelihoods are not put at risk."
"Our chief concern is any drop in livestock numbers may jeopardise the viability of some processing plants and jobs in rural communities."
Meat processors relied on throughput of livestock to create efficiencies of scale and to be profitable, Karapeeva said.
The commission estimated that without major on-farm practice change and new technologies, a 15 per cent reduction in livestock numbers would be required to achieve the targets by 2030.
Karapeeva said this would have a serious impact on the ability of many processors to keep operating.
"On the face of it, this assumption by the commission that we can reduce livestock numbers by 15 per cent while still maintaining current production volumes seems optimistic. We need to understand why the commission made this assumption to better assess the likely effects for the industry."
Meanwhile, the industry agreed with the commission and sheep and beef farmers, that the widespread planting of exotic pine trees was not a long-term viable solution to addressing climate change.
"We can't plant our way out of climate change. Wholesale planting of pine trees on sheep and beef farmland is not the answer and it will have significant implications for jobs in regional New Zealand," Karapeeva said.
The red meat processing sector generated more than $10 billion in export revenue every year and was also a significant regional employer in New Zealand, so any changes would have a major impact on people's livelihoods, Karapeeva said.
"For instance, in the Otago/Southland region, the sector employs 7700 full-time people with more than 10,000 full-time jobs underpinned by the industry. It also contributes 11.5 per cent of household income in the region."
"In Taranaki/Manawatu and Whanganui, the sector supports almost 10 per cent of full-time employment in the region with 5200 directly and it underpins more than 8300 full-time equivalent jobs."