Renewable targets will hurt cows: minister

Energy Minister Angus Taylor wants Labor to think about the cows.

As the opposition prepares to unveil its energy policy on Thursday, Mr Taylor says they must explain how their existing 45 per cent emissions reduction target and 50 per cent renewable energy target will affect manufacturing and agriculture.

"Which aluminium smelters and refineries are going to shut? Which cement factories are going to shut? How many head of cattle have got to go?" Mr Taylor told Sky News on Wednesday.

"It'll go into slashing sectors that are emissions intensive.

"Our biggest export sectors like agriculture, like resources, like our manufacturing sector, these are very, very serious issues for the Australian economy."

Livestock accounts for 11 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, behind only the energy and transport sectors.

Within emissions from the agriculture sector, livestock account for about 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Labor's energy spokesman Mark Butler has flagged possible sector specific reduction targets within the opposition's policy.

The policy is based in large part on the coalition's abandoned National Energy Guarantee, which sought to link reliability and emissions targets while pushing down prices.

Mr Taylor made it clear he opposed legislating emissions reduction targets.

"I'm bagging the targets. The target drives everything, if you pick a 45 per cent emissions reduction target you've got to figure out which part of the economy you're slashing."

Australian Associated Press