The object or event identified as "the" cause of an effect is a genuine cause, but insignificant when compared to the other causes of that event. Note that this fallacy does not apply when all other contributing causes are equally insignificant. Thus, it is not a fallacy to say that you helped cause defeat the Gore administration because you voted Republican, for your vote had as much weight as any other vote, and hence is equally a part of the (overall) cause.
- Smoking is causing air pollution in Chicago.
(True, but the effect of smoking is insignificant compared to the effect of auto exhaust.)
- By leaving your oven on overnight you are contributing to global warming.
(True, but other factors are more significant when considering the composite cause required to produce "global warming").
Proof: Identify the much more significant cause