Mrs Beckett was commenting on the split between the US and most other countries over the importance of following the targets on carbon emissions set by the Kyoto agreement.
President George Bush has refused to sign the treaty, saying the targets would be bad for the US economy. He has instead argued for the need to improve technology to make energy use cleaner and more efficient.
Speaking at a meeting of energy and enviroment ministers in London, Mrs Beckett said that the ultimate aim was for all countries to use whatever means they can to reduce the amount of CO2 they release and achieve a stable climate.
"There has been a serious divide in recent years about whether this is to be achieved through setting targets, or developing technology," Mrs Beckett said.
"This is clearly a false divide - technology is essential to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, and targets, or goals or objectives, set by country or sector or internationally have a vital role in driving forward that progress," she said.
Mrs Beckett added: "I know that there are people anxious to set targets and write treaties before anybody has even explored the ground where we might go in the future."Reuse content